Frontotemporal Dementia

Basal Ganglia Morphology Distinguishes Dementia Subtypes

Putaminal Morphology Reveals Frontostriatal “Axis” in FTD

With collaborators from the Australian National University and the University of California (Los Angeles), we have shown that, like the hippocampus, the putamen in the striatum can be used as a possible biomarker for dementia subtype. In comparing a well-characterised group of patients with frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease Alzheimer’s disease and matched healthy controls, and using sophisticated shape analysis methodology from Paul Thompson’s group at UCLA, we showed that there are distinct atrophy “signatures” that occur in the putamen, a key grey matter structure in the basal ganglia. These signatures may be useful in aiding diagnosis, and for better understanding of some of the cognitive and behavioural disturbances that occur in these degenerative disorders.

The research also shows that, compared to a more typical basal ganglia disorder and a cortical disorder, frontotemporal dementia shares characteristics of both, adding to our previous work proposing a frontostriatal axis for many of the features of this illness.

The paper can be found

Looi et al. Differential putaminal morphology in Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Aust NZ J Psychiatry 46: 1145-1158, 2012.