Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Neurodegeneration with dementia includes an incurable and devastating set of disorders affecting individuals in late adulthood; early-onset forms of dementia also affect middle aged adults – decades before late-onset dementia typically occurs. Two of the most common forms of early-onset dementia are early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD) and frontotemporal dementia. Early diagnosis allows for early treatment, and monitoring of progressive biomarkers. However, as early onset dementia is relatively rare, correct diagnosis of the condition may be delayed. Disease-specific biomarkers are essential in making these diagnoses along with appropriate subtypes early and accurately. As the term indicates, the degeneration is a continuous process, with initial localized brain tissue loss eventually expanding and disrupting the brain’s structural and functional network as a whole. There are two pressing issues that require neuroimaging 1) diagnosis, aided by the pattern of brain deficits, and 2) treatment efficacy, monitored and quantified through the use of biomarkers, including the rate and extent of which the brain’s communication network is compromised.