[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) comprises two main classes of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by neuronal/glial proteinaceous inclusions (i.e., proteinopathies) including tauopathies (i.e., FTLD-Tau) and TDP-43 proteinopathies (i.e., FTLD-TDP) while other very rare forms of FTLD are known such as FTLD with FUS pathology (FTLD-FUS). This review focuses mainly on FTLD-Tau and FLTD-TDP, which may present as several clinical syndromes: a behavioral/dysexecutive syndrome (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia); language disorders (primary progressive aphasia variants); and motor disorders (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, corticobasal syndrome, progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome). There is considerable heterogeneity in clinical presentations of underlying neuropathology and current clinical criteria do not reliably predict underlying proteinopathies ante-mortem. In contrast, molecular etiologies of hereditary FTLD are consistently associated with specific proteinopathies. These include MAPT mutations with FTLD-Tau and GRN, C9orf72, VCP and TARDBP with FTLD-TDP. The last decade has seen a rapid expansion in our knowledge of the molecular pathologies associated with this clinically and neuropathologically heterogeneous group of FTLD diseases. Moreover, in view of current limitations to reliably diagnose specific FTLD neuropathologies prior to autopsy, we summarize the current state of the science in FTLD biomarker research including neuroimaging, biofluid and genetic analyses. We propose that combining several of these biomarker modalities will improve diagnostic specificity in FTLD through a personalized medicine approach. The goals of these efforts are to enhance power for clinical trials focused on slowing or preventing progression of spread of tau, TDP-43 and other FTLD-associated pathologies and work toward the goal of defining clinical endophenotypes of FTD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantitative examinations of speech production in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are rare. To identify language features minimally confounded by a motor disorder, we investigated linguistic and motor sources of impaired sentence expression in ALS, and we related deficits to gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) MRI abnormalities. We analyzed a semi-structured speech sample in 26 ALS patients and 19 healthy seniors for motor- and language-related deficits. Regression analyses related grammaticality to GM atrophy and reduced WM fractional anisotropy (FA). Results demonstrated that ALS patients were impaired relative to controls on quantity of speech, speech rate, speech articulation errors, and grammaticality. Speech rate and articulation errors were related to the patients' motor impairment, while grammatical difficulty was independent of motor difficulty. This was confirmed in subgroups without dysarthria and without executive deficits. Regressions related grammatical expression to GM atrophy in left inferior frontal and anterior temporal regions and to reduced FA in superior longitudinal and inferior frontal-occipital fasciculi. In conclusion, patients with ALS exhibit multifactorial deficits in sentence expression. They demonstrate a deficit in grammatical expression that is independent of their motor disorder. Impaired grammatical expression is related to disease in a network of brain regions associated with syntactic processing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To relate changes in fractional anisotropy associated with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia to measures of apathy and disinhibition.
Apathy and disinhibition are the 2 most common behavioral features of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, and these symptoms are associated with accelerated patient decline and caregiver stress. However, little is known about how white matter disease contributes to these symptoms.
We collected neuropsychiatric data, volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, and diffusion-weighted imaging in 11 patients who met published criteria for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and had an autopsy-validated cerebrospinal fluid profile consistent with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. We also collected imaging data on 34 healthy seniors for analyses defining regions of disease in the patients. We calculated and analyzed fractional anisotropy with a white matter tract-specific method. This approach uses anatomically guided data reduction to increase sensitivity, and localizes results within canonically defined tracts. We used nonparametric, cluster-based statistical analysis to relate fractional anisotropy to neuropsychiatric measures of apathy and disinhibition.
The patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia had widespread reductions in fractional anisotropy in anterior portions of frontal and temporal white matter, compared to the controls. Fractional anisotropy correlated with apathy in the left uncinate fasciculus and with disinhibition in the right corona radiata.
In patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, apathy and disinhibition are associated with distinct regions of white matter disease. The implicated fiber tracts likely support frontotemporal networks that are involved in goal-directed behavior.
Cognitive and behavioral neurology: official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology 12/2014; 27(4):206-14. · 1.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Segmenting and quantifying gliomas from MRI is an important task for diagnosis, planning intervention, and for tracking tumor changes over time. However, this task is complicated by the lack of prior knowledge concerning tumor location, spatial extent, shape, possible displacement of normal tissue, and intensity signature. To accommodate such complications, we introduce a framework for supervised segmentation based on multiple modality intensity, geometry, and asymmetry feature sets. These features drive a supervised whole-brain and tumor segmentation approach based on random forest-derived probabilities. The asymmetry-related features (based on optimal symmetric multimodal templates) demonstrate excellent discriminative properties within this framework. We also gain performance by generating probability maps from random forest models and using these maps for a refining Markov random field regularized probabilistic segmentation. This strategy allows us to interface the supervised learning capabilities of the random forest model with regularized probabilistic segmentation using the recently developed ANTsR package-a comprehensive statistical and visualization interface between the popular Advanced Normalization Tools (ANTs) and the R statistical project. The reported algorithmic framework was the top-performing entry in the MICCAI 2013 Multimodal Brain Tumor Segmentation challenge. The challenge data were widely varying consisting of both high-grade and low-grade glioma tumor four-modality MRI from five different institutions. Average Dice overlap measures for the final algorithmic assessment were 0.87, 0.78, and 0.74 for "complete", "core", and "enhanced" tumor components, respectively.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C9orf72 promoter hypermethylation inhibits the accumulation of pathologies which have been postulated to be neurotoxic. We tested here whether C9orf72 hypermethylation is associated with prolonged disease in C9orf72 mutation carriers. C9orf72 methylation was quantified from brain or blood using methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme digest-qPCR in a cross-sectional cohort of 118 C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers and 19 non-carrier family members. Multivariate regression models were used to determine whether C9orf72 hypermethylation was associated with age at onset, disease duration, age at death, or hexanucleotide repeat expansion size. Permutation analysis was performed to determine whether C9orf72 methylation is heritable. We observed a high correlation between C9orf72 methylation across tissues including cerebellum, frontal cortex, spinal cord and peripheral blood. While C9orf72 methylation was not significantly different between ALS and FTD and did not predict age at onset, brain and blood C9orf72 hypermethylation was associated with later age at death in FTD (brain: β = 0.18, p = 0.006; blood: β = 0.15, p < 0.001), and blood C9orf72 hypermethylation was associated with longer disease duration in FTD (β = 0.03, p = 0.007). Furthermore, C9orf72 hypermethylation was associated with smaller hexanucleotide repeat length (β = -16.69, p = 0.033). Finally, analysis of pedigrees with multiple mutation carriers demonstrated a significant association between C9orf72 methylation and family relatedness (p < 0.0001). C9orf72 hypermethylation is associated with prolonged disease in C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers with FTD. The attenuated clinical phenotype associated with C9orf72 hypermethylation suggests that slower clinical progression in FTD is associated with reduced expression of mutant C9orf72. These results support the hypothesis that expression of the hexanucleotide repeat expansion is associated with a toxic gain of function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A growing amount of empirical data is showing that the ability to manipulate quantities in a precise and efficient fashion is rooted in cognitive mechanisms devoted to specific aspects of numbers processing. The Analog number system (ANS) has a reasonable representation of quantities up to about 4, and represents larger quantities on the basis of a numerical ratio between quantities. In order to represent the precise cardinality of a number, the ANS may be supported by external algorithms such as language, leading to a “Precise Number System”. In the setting of limited language, other number-related systems can appear. For example the Parallel Individuation system (PIS) supports a “chunking mechanism” that clusters units of larger numerosities into smaller subsets. In the present study we investigated number processing in non-aphasic patients with Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) and Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), two neurodegenerative conditions that are associated with progressive parietal atrophy. The present study investigated these number systems in CBS and PCA by assessing the property of the ANS associated with smaller and larger numerosities, and the chunking property of the PIS. The results revealed that CBS/PCA patients are impaired in simple calculations (e.g., addition and subtraction) and that their performance strongly correlates with the size of the numbers involved in these calculations, revealing a clear magnitude effect. This magnitude effect correlated with gray matter atrophy in parietal regions. Moreover, a numeral-dots transcoding task showed that CBS/PCA patients are able to take advantage of clustering in the spatial distribution of the dots of the array. The relative advantage associated with chunking compared to a random spatial distribution correlated with both parietal and prefrontal regions. These results shed light on the properties of systems for representing number knowledge in non-aphasic patients with CBS and PCA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apathy, a reduction in goal-directed behavior (GDB), affects 90% of individuals with behavioral variant frontotemporal degeneration, which is a common cause of early onset neurodegenerative disease. The cognitive and neural impairments associated with apathy make it difficult to initiate, plan, and self-motivate activities toward a specific goal, such as dressing or bathing. These impairments are associated with significant decline in functional ability, caregiver burden, and increased cost of care due to early institutionalization. The current article reviews the evidence suggesting that apathy arises from the interruption of one or any combination of three GDB processes: initiation, planning, and motivation. From this perspective, three subtypes of apathy related to dysfunction at the level of GDB and the corresponding neuroanatomy are explored. Further research is required to confirm and measure these subtypes of apathy for use in clinical and research settings. A more precise classification of apathy by subtype will allow implementation of the most appropriate person-centered, individualized therapy. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, xx(x), xx-xx.].
Journal of Gerontological Nursing 09/2014; · 0.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantifiers, like "some" or "few," are frequent in daily language. Linguists posit at least three distinct classes of quantifiers: cardinal quantifiers that rely on numerosity, majority quantifiers that additionally depend on executive resources, and logical quantifiers that rely on perceptual attention. We used BOLD fMRI to investigate the roles of frontal and parietal regions in quantifier comprehension. Participants performed a sentence-picture verification task to determine whether a sentence containing a quantifier accurately describes a picture. A whole-brain analysis identified a network involved in quantifier comprehension: This implicated bilateral inferior parietal, superior parietal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, and right inferior frontal cortex. We then performed region-of-interest analyses to assess the relative contribution of each region for each quantifier class. Inferior parietal cortex was equally activated across all quantifier classes, consistent with prior studies implicating the region for quantifier comprehension due in part to its role in the representation of number knowledge. Right superior parietal cortex was up-regulated in comparison to frontal regions for cardinal and logical quantifiers, but parietal and frontal regions were equally activated for majority quantifiers and each frontal region is most highly activated for majority quantifiers.This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that majority quantifiers rely on numerosity mechanisms in parietal cortex and executive mechanisms in frontal cortex. Also, right inferior frontal cortex was up-regulated for logical compared to cardinal quantifiers, which may be related to selection demands associated with logical quantifier comprehension. We conclude that distinct components of a large-scale fronto-parietal network contribute to specific aspects of quantifier comprehension, and that this biologically defined network is consistent with cognitive theories of quantifier meaning.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8. · 2.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) is characterized by asymmetric involuntary movements including rigidity, tremor, dystonia, and myoclonus, and often associated with apraxia, cortical sensory deficits, and alien limb phenomena. Additionally, there are various nonmotor (cognitive and language) deficits. CBS is associated with several distinct histopathologies, including corticobasal degeneration, other forms of tau-related frontotemporal lobar degeneration such as progressive supranuclear palsy, and Alzheimer disease. Accurate antemortem diagnosis of underlying pathology in CBS is challenging, though certain clinical and imaging findings may be helpful. Five recent advances in the understanding of CBS are reviewed, including clinical and pathologic features, imaging and CSF biomarkers, the role of specific genes, and the concept of a spectrum of tauopathies.
Nature Clinical Practice Neurology 08/2014; 4(4):304-312. · 7.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autopsy studies show widespread pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but clinical surveys of multisystem disease in ALS are rare. We investigated ALS-Plus syndrome, an understudied group of patients with clinical features extending beyond pyramidal and neuromuscular systems with or without cognitive/behavioral deficits.
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 07/2014; · 2.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the prognostic utility of tauopathy-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in sporadic behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).METHODS: Eighty-one patients with sporadic bvFTD were genotyped for tauopathy-associated SNPs at rs8070723 (microtubule-associated protein tau [MAPT]) and rs1768208 (myelin-associated oligodendrocyte basic protein [MOBP]). We performed a retrospective case-control study comparing age at onset and disease duration between carriers of ≥1 polymorphism allele and noncarriers for these SNPs. Subanalyses were performed for autopsied subgroups with tauopathy (n = 20) and TDP-43 proteinopathy (n = 12). To identify a potential biological basis for disease duration, neuroimaging measures of white matter integrity were evaluated (n = 37).RESULTS: Carriers of risk allele (T) in rs1768208 (i.e., MOBP RA+) had a shorter median disease duration (TC/TT = 5.5 years, CC = 9.5 years; p = 0.02). This was also found in the subset of cases with autopsy-confirmed tauopathies (p = 0.04) but not with TDP-43 proteinopathies (p > 0.1). By comparison, polymorphisms at rs8070723 (MAPT) had no effect on disease duration (p > 0.1), although carriers of protective allele (G) in rs8070723 had a younger median age at onset (AG/GG = 54.5 years, AA = 58 years; p < 0.01). MOBP RA+ patients had increased radial diffusivity in the superior corona radiata and midbrain, and reduced fractional anisotropy in the superior corona radiata as well as superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi compared with noncarriers (p < 0.01).CONCLUSIONS: The rs1768208 risk polymorphism in MOBP may have prognostic value in bvFTD. MOBP RA+ patients have more severe white matter degeneration in bvFTD that may contribute to shorter disease duration. Future studies are needed to help confirm these findings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined narrative discourse in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to assess the role of executive functioning in support of language and the neuroanatomical basis for such support.METHODS: We analyzed a semistructured speech sample in 26 patients with ALS and 19 healthy seniors for narrative discourse features of coherence. Regression analyses related a measure of discourse coherence ("local connectedness") to gray matter atrophy and reduced white matter fractional anisotropy.RESULTS: Patients with ALS were impaired relative to controls on measures of discourse adequacy, including local connectedness and maintenance of the theme. These discourse measures were related to measures of executive functioning but not to motor functioning. Regressions related local connectedness to gray matter atrophy in ventral and dorsal prefrontal regions and to reduced fractional anisotropy in white matter tracts mediating projections between prefrontal regions.CONCLUSION: Patients with ALS exhibit deficits in their ability to organize narrative discourse. These deficits appear to be related in part to executive limitations. Consistent with the hypothesis that ALS is a multisystem disorder, this deficit is related to disease in prefrontal regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Articles Davunetide in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2/3 trial Summary Background In preclinical studies, davunetide promoted microtubule stability and reduced tau phosphorylation. Because progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is linked to tau pathology, davunetide could be a treatment for PSP. We assessed the safety and effi cacy of davunetide in patients with PSP.
The Lancet Neurology 07/2014; 13(7):676-685. · 21.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Linking structural neuroimaging data from multiple modalities to cognitive performance is an important challenge for cognitive neuroscience. In this study we examined the relationship between verbal fluency performance and neuroanatomy in 54 patients with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) and 15 age-matched controls, all of whom had T1- and diffusion-weighted imaging. Our goal was to incorporate measures of both gray matter (voxel-based cortical thickness) and white matter (fractional anisotropy) into a single statistical model that relates to behavioral performance. We first used eigenanatomy to define data-driven regions of interest (DD-ROIs) for both gray and white matter. Eigenanatomy is a multivariate dimensionality reduction approach that identifies spatially smooth, unsigned principal components that explain the maximal amount of variance across subjects. We then used a statistical model selection procedure to see which of these DD-ROIs best modeled performance on verbal fluency tasks hypothesized to rely on distinct components of a large-scale neural network that support language: category fluency requires a semantic-guided search and is hypothesized to rely primarily on temporal cortices that support lexical-semantic representations; letter-guided fluency requires a strategic mental search and is hypothesized to require executive resources to support a more demanding search process, which depends on prefrontal cortex in addition to temporal network components that support lexical representations. We observed that both types of verbal fluency performance are best described by a network that includes a combination of gray and white matter. For category fluency, the identified regions included bilateral temporal cortex and a white matter region including left inferior longitudinal fasciculus and frontal-occipital fasciculus. For letter fluency, a left temporal lobe region was also selected, and also regions of frontal cortex. These results are consistent with our hypothesized neuroanatomical models of language processing and its breakdown in FTD. We conclude that clustering the data with eigenanatomy before performing linear regression is a promising tool for multimodal data analysis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have a motor disorder and cognitive difficulties, including difficulty with action verbs. However, the basis for the action verb impairment is unknown. Thirty-six participants with ALS and 22 with Parkinson's disease (PD) were assessed on a simple, two-alternative forced-choice associativity judgment task, where performance was untimed and did not depend on motor functioning. We probed 120 frequency-matched action verbs, cognition verbs, concrete nouns and abstract nouns. Performance was related to T1 MRI imaging of gray matter atrophy. Patients with ALS were significantly impaired relative to healthy senior control participants only for action verbs. Patients with PD did not differ from controls for all word categories. Regression analyses related action verb performance in ALS to motor-associated cortices, but action verb judgments in PD were not related to cortical atrophy. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that action verb difficulty in ALS is related in part to the degradation of action-related conceptual knowledge represented in motor-associated cortex.
Journal of Neurology 03/2014; 261(6). · 3.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary aims of this work were to: 1) establish a calibrator surrogate matrix for quantification of amyloid-β (Aβ)42 in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and preparation of quality control samples for LC-MS-MS methodology, 2) validate analytical performance of the assay, and 3) evaluate its diagnostic utility and compare it with the AlzBio3 immunoassay. The analytical methodology was based on a 2D-UPLC-MS-MS platform. Sample pretreatment used 5 M guanidine hydrochloride and extraction on μElution SPE columns as previously described. A column cleaning procedure involved gradual removal of aqueous solvents by acetonitrile assured consistent long-term chromatography performance. Receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curve and correlation analyses evaluated the diagnostic utility of UPLC-MS-MS compared to AlzBio3 immunoassay for detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The surrogate matrix, artificial CSF containing 4 mg/mL of BSA, provides linear and reproducible calibration comparable to human pooled CSF as calibration matrix. Appropriate cleaning of the trapping and analytical columns provided every-day, trouble-free runs. Analyses of CSF Aβ42 showed that UPLC-MS-MS distinguished neuropathologically-diagnosed AD subjects from healthy controls with at least equivalent diagnostic utility to AlzBio3. Comparison of ROC curves for these two assays showed no statistically significant difference (p = 0.2229). Linear regression analysis of Aβ42 concentrations measured by this mass spectrometry-based method compared to the AlzBio3 immunoassay showed significantly higher but highly correlated results. In conclusion, the newly established surrogate matrix for 2D-UPLC-MS-MS measurement of Aβ42 provides selective, reproducible, and accurate results. The documented analytical performance and diagnostic performance for AD versus controls supports consideration as a candidate reference method.
Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 03/2014; · 3.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE An increasingly varied clinical spectrum of cases with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been identified, and objective criteria for clinical trial eligibility are necessary. OBJECTIVE To develop a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of ALS. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A case-control study including 51 individuals with ALS and 23 individuals with a disorder associated with a 4-repeat tauopathy was conducted at an academic medical center. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The CSF level of tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (ptau) and ratio of ptau to total tau (ttau). RESULTS Using a cross-validation prediction procedure, we found significantly reduced CSF levels of ptau and the ptau:ttau ratio in ALS relative to 4-repeat tauopathy and to controls. In the validation cohort, the receiver operating characteristic area under the curve for the ptau:ttau ratio was 0.916, and the comparison of ALS with 4-repeat tauopathy showed 92.0% sensitivity and 91.7% specificity. Correct classification based on a low CSF ptau:ttau ratio was confirmed in 18 of 21 cases (86%) with autopsy-proved or genetically determined disease. In patients with available measures, ptau:ttau in ALS correlated with clinical measures of disease severity, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (n = 51) and ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (n = 42), and regression analyses related the ptau:ttau ratio to magnetic resonance imaging (n = 10) evidence of disease in the corticospinal tract and white matter projections involving the prefrontal cortex. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The CSF ptau:ttau ratio may be a candidate biomarker to provide objective support for the diagnosis of ALS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) have recently been linked to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and may be the most common genetic cause of both neurodegenerative diseases. Genetic variants at TMEM106B influence risk for the most common neuropathological subtype of FTLD, characterized by inclusions of TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (FTLD-TDP). Previous reports have shown that TMEM106B is a genetic modifier of FTLD-TDP caused by progranulin (GRN) mutations, with the major (risk) allele of rs1990622 associating with earlier age at onset of disease. Here, we report that rs1990622 genotype affects age at death in a single-site discovery cohort of FTLD patients with C9orf72 expansions (n = 14), with the major allele correlated with later age at death (p = 0.024). We replicate this modifier effect in a 30-site international neuropathological cohort of FTLD-TDP patients with C9orf72 expansions (n = 75), again finding that the major allele associates with later age at death (p = 0.016), as well as later age at onset (p = 0.019). In contrast, TMEM106B genotype does not affect age at onset or death in 241 FTLD-TDP cases negative for GRN mutations or C9orf72 expansions. Thus, TMEM106B is a genetic modifier of FTLD with C9orf72 expansions. Intriguingly, the genotype that confers increased risk for developing FTLD-TDP (major, or T, allele of rs1990622) is associated with later age at onset and death in C9orf72 expansion carriers, providing an example of sign epistasis in human neurodegenerative disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that semantic memory for object concepts involves both representations of visual feature knowledge in modality-specific association cortex and heteromodal regions that are important for integrating and organizing this semantic knowledge so that it can be used in a flexible, contextually appropriate manner. We examined this hypothesis in an fMRI study of mild Alzheimer's disease (AD). Participants were presented with pairs of printed words and asked whether the words matched on a given visual-perceptual feature (e.g., guitar, violin: SHAPE). The stimuli probed natural kinds and manufactured objects, and the judgments involved shape or color. We found activation of bilateral ventral temporal cortex and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during semantic judgments, with AD patients showing less activation of these regions than healthy seniors. Moreover, AD patients showed less ventral temporal activation than did healthy seniors for manufactured objects, but not for natural kinds. We also used diffusion-weighted MRI of white matter to examine fractional anisotropy (FA). Patients with AD showed significantly reduced FA in the superior longitudinal fasciculus and inferior frontal-occipital fasciculus, which carry projections linking temporal and frontal regions of this semantic network. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that semantic memory is supported in part by a large-scale neural network involving modality-specific association cortex, heteromodal association cortex, and projections between these regions. The semantic deficit in AD thus arises from gray matter disease that affects the representation of feature knowledge and processing its content, as well as white matter disease that interrupts the integrated functioning of this large-scale network.