Fiona Kumfor

Fiona Kumfor
The University of Sydney · Brain and Mind Research Institute

BPsych (Hons), MClin Neuro, PhD

About

114
Publications
35,033
Reads
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2,482
Citations
Introduction
Fiona Kumfor is a Senior Research Fellow at the Brain and Mind Centre and School of Psychology, University of Sydney. Fiona does research in social and behavioural disturbances in clinical populations.
Additional affiliations
March 2010 - present
Neuroscience Research Australia
Position
  • Emotion processing and its effects on cognition in frontotemporal dementia
January 2008 - March 2010
UNSW Sydney
Position
  • The Older Australian Twins Study
Education
March 2010 - March 2013
UNSW Sydney
Field of study
  • Neuroscience
March 2008 - November 2011
Macquarie University
Field of study
  • Neuropsychology
January 2004 - December 2007
UNSW Sydney
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (114)
Article
The typical presentation of semantic dementia is associated with marked, left predominant anterior temporal lobe atrophy and with changes in language. About 30% of individuals, however, present with predominant right anterior temporal lobe atrophy, usually accompanied by behavioural changes and prosopagnosia. Here, we aimed to establish whether the...
Article
Full-text available
Disturbed emotion processing and difficulty with social interactions are present to variable degrees in dementia. They are characteristic features of frontotemporal dementia, whereas these deficits tend to be mild in Alzheimer's disease, reflecting the different patterns of neurodegeneration seen in these disorders. Corticobasal syndrome is an atyp...
Article
Behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients experience behavioural and emotion recognition alterations, yet understanding of how socioemotional processing is affected with disease progression is minimal. Additionally, evidence suggests that bvFTD patients with limited brain atrophy on neuroimaging at pr...
Article
Background It has been argued that symptom onset in neurodegeneration reflects the overload of compensatory mechanisms. The present study aimed to investigate whether neural functional compensation can be observed in the manifest neurodegenerative disease stage, by focusing on a core deficit in frontotemporal dementia, i.e. social cognition, and by...
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Dodich and colleagues recently reviewed the evidence supporting clinical use of social cognition assessment in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (Dodich et al., 2021). Here, we comment on their methods and present an initiative to address some of the limitations that emerged from their study. In particular, we established the social cognit...
Article
Background: Olfactory dysfunction is highly prevalent in dementia syndromes, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The structural integrity of the olfactory bulb (OB) is thought to play a critical role in odor detection and identification, but no MRI study has measured OB volume in FTD, or measured OB volume longitu...
Article
Introduction: Changes in social behavior and emotion processing are common in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and semantic dementia (SD), and less so in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recent research has investigated oxytocin as a potential treatment for these symptoms; however, whether plasma oxytocin is associated with social-emotional symptoms of deme...
Article
Apathy is the most common and disabling non-cognitive feature of dementia, affecting up to 90% of individuals over the disease course. Despite its prevalence, the underlying mechanisms of apathy remain elusive. This study aimed to investigate whether cognitive apathy and executive functioning have a shared cognitive and neural basis, in behavioural...
Article
Frontotemporal dementia comprises a group of clinical syndromes that are characterised by progressive changes in behaviour, executive function, or language. The term frontotemporal lobar degeneration encompasses the neurodegenerative diseases that give rise to these clinical syndromes and involve proteinopathies associated with frontotemporal netwo...
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Background: There is growing recognition that communication can be affected in multiple sclerosis (MS) and can negatively impact relationships, employment and psychological well-being. Some persons with MS (PwMS) implement strategies to facilitate their communication; however, some do not. Most PwMS who report communication changes do not engage w...
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As a global health emergency, the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) led to the implementation of widespread restrictions (e.g., quarantine, physical/social distancing measures). However, while these restrictions reduce the viral spread of COVID-19, they may exacerbate behavioural and cognitive symptoms in dementia patients an...
Article
Objectives: Abnormal beliefs and delusions have been reported in some people with dementia, however, the prevalence of delusions, and their neurocognitive basis has been underexplored. This study aimed to examine the presence, severity, content and neural correlates of delusions in a large, well-characterised cohort of dementia patients using a tr...
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Background The GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the non-coding region of the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 gene (C9orf72) is the most common genetic cause of familial frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This study aims to clarify the patterns of cerebellar atrophy in FTD patients with and without a C9orf72 repeat expansion compared with he...
Article
Objective: This study investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public-health measures aiming to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (i.e restrictions, social distancing, self-isolation) on neuropsychiatric symptoms of patients with different forms of dementia and the mental health of their caregivers in Germany. Method: An online-survey...
Article
Objective: The reduction of goal-directed behavior, termed apathy, is a pervasive and debilitating syndrome after traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, understanding of apathy as a multifaceted construct is limited, especially in Southeast Asian nations. This study aimed to investigate the severity, insight, and psychosocial influences of apathy...
Article
Full-text available
Face processing relies on a network of occipito-temporal and frontal brain regions. Temporal regions are heavily involved in looking at and processing emotional faces; however, the contribution of each hemisphere to this process remains under debate. Semantic dementia (SD) is a rare neurodegenerative brain condition characterized by anterior tempor...
Chapter
Administration of intranasal oxytocin has been found to improve social cognition in a number of brain conditions, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Whether this approach is relevant in dementias is currently unknown, particularly in frontotemporal dementia, a younger-onset dementia characterized clinically by marked changes in s...
Article
Objective Apathy, the reduction of motivation and goal-directed behaviour, is a ubiquitous behavioural syndrome in many neurological disorders. However, apathy measures are limited in non-English speaking countries. The present study aimed to develop a culturally appropriate version of the Vietnamese Frontal Systems Behavioural Scale-Apathy subscal...
Article
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is characterised by predominant language and communication impairment. However, behavioural changes, such as apathy, are increasingly recognised. Apathy is defined as a reduction in motivation and goal-directed behaviour. Recent theoretical models have suggested that apathy can be delineated into multiple dimension...
Article
Background: Persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) can experience language-related symptoms such as difficulty with word finding, understanding verbal information, and structuring discourse. These symptoms have negative psychological and interpersonal consequences. Studies exploring characteristics of language impairment in MS are limited. The aim o...
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Across Latin American and Caribbean countries (LACs), the fight against dementia faces pressing challenges, such as heterogeneity, diversity, political instability, and socioeconomic disparities. These can be addressed more effectively in a collaborative setting that fosters open exchange of knowledge. In this work, the Latin American and Caribbean...
Article
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From molecular mechanisms to global brain networks, atypical fluctuations are the hallmark of neurodegenera-tion. Yet, traditional fMRI research on resting-state networks (RSNs) has favored static and average connectivity methods, which by overlooking the fluctuation dynamics triggered by neurodegeneration, have yielded inconsistent results. The pr...
Chapter
This chapter reviews behavioral interventions and strategies for spoken communication for people with dementia and their communication partners. Communication changes in dementia are influenced by factors including dementia etiology, location of neuropathology, and disease stage. Comprehensive communication assessment aims to cover all levels of th...
Article
Changes in social behavior are recognized as potential symptoms of behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and semantic dementia (SD), yet objective ways to assess these behaviors in natural social situations are lacking. This study takes a truly social (or second-person) approach and examines changes in real-world social behavior in dif...
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Abtract While research in social and affective neuroscience has a long history, it is only in the last few decades that it has been truly established as an independent field of investigation. In the Australian region, despite having an even shorter history, this field of research is experiencing a dramatic rise. In this review, we present recent fi...
Article
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Diagnosis of FTD, especially the behavioural variant, is challenging because of symptomatic overlap with psychiatric disorders (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder). Olfactory dysfunction is common in both FTD and psychiatric disorders, and often appears years before...
Article
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Negative and positive emotions are known to shape decision-making towards more or less impulsive responses respectively. Decision-making and emotion processing are underpinned by shared brain regions including the ventromedio-prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the amygdala. How these processes interact at the behavioural and brain levels is still unclea...
Article
Objective While patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) typically present with predominant language impairment, behavioural symptoms, such as apathy, are often under-recognised. We aimed to systematically characterise apathy across the three recognised subtypes of PPA, plus atypical right-lateralised presentations of semantic dementia, and...
Article
Full-text available
Apathy is one of the most prevalent and disabling non-cognitive symptoms of dementia. This loss of motivation and pervasive decline in goal-directed behaviour represents a core diagnostic feature of behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and is also common in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, despite growing recognition of a multidime...
Article
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative brain disorders, primarily affecting the frontal and/or temporal lobes. Three main subtypes are recognised, each with distinct clinical and cognitive profiles: behavioural-variant FTD (bvFTD), semantic dementia (SD), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA). Subtype-specifi...
Article
Purpose of review: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a rare dementia, that accounts for about 15% of all dementia cases. Despite consensus diagnostic criteria, FTD remains difficult to diagnose in life because of its complex and variable clinical phenomenology and heterogeneous disorders. This review provides an update on the current knowledge of t...
Article
Full-text available
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder primarily affecting the frontal and/or temporal lobes. Three main subtypes have been recognized: behavioural-variant FTD (bvFTD), semantic dementia (SD), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), each of which has a distinct clinical and cognitive profile. Although the role of the...
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Accurate early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases represents a growing challenge for current clinical practice. Promisingly, current tools can be complemented by computational decision-support methods to objectively analyze multidimensional measures and increase diagnostic confidence. Yet, widespread application of these tools cannot be recomm...
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Introduction Timely diagnosis of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) remains challenging because it depends on clinical expertise and potentially ambiguous diagnostic guidelines. Recent recommendations highlight the role of multimodal neuroimaging and machine learning methods as complementary tools to address this problem. Methods W...
Article
To track neural correlates of naming performance with disease progression, we estimated key areas affected in nonfluent/agrammatic (nfvPPA) and logopenic (lvPPA) primary progressive aphasia variants over time and changes in naming correlates over time. Twenty-nine non-semantic PPA participants (17 nfvPPA and 12 lvPPA) were selected based upon curre...
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The current clinical diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) recognize an atypical, non-amnestic presentation of AD, characterized by prominent executive dysfunction. Increasing evidence, however, indicates that the clinical phenotype of this so-called “frontal-variant” of AD (fv-AD) includes behavioral symptoms and deficits in social cogn...
Article
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) is clinically characterised by a wide range of motor, cognitive, and behavioural features but remains challenging to diagnose accurately. Despite recent evidence supporting the presence of social cognition and emotion processing disturbances, few studies have explored the nature of empathic ability in CBS. This study aim...
Article
Early theories of emotion processing propose an interplay between autonomic function and cognitive appraisal of emotions. Patients with frontotemporal dementia show profound social cognition deficits and atrophy in regions implicated in autonomic emotional responses (insula, amygdala, prefrontal cortex), yet objective measures of facial expressiven...
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Impairments in social cognition are believed contribute to disability, particularly for disorders characterized by difficulties in social interaction. There has been little transdiagnostic investigation of this across social cognition domains in young adults. A total of 199 young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; N = 53), early p...
Article
Objectives: The Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE) is a common cognitive screening test for dementia. Here, we examined the relationship between the most recent version (ACE-III) and its predecessor (ACE-R), determined ACE-III cutoff scores for the detection of dementia, and explored its relationship with functional ability. Methods: Stud...
Article
Apathy is a common symptom in frontotemporal dementia that is associated with functional decline and carer stress. Evidence suggests that apathy presents differently depending on patterns of brain atrophy, and emerges earlier and is more severe in behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia than in semantic dementia or progressive nonfluent aphasia...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Increasing evidence suggests that cerebellar damage impacts on cognitive functions. Frontotemporal dementias (FTD) are neurodegenerative brain conditions, primarily affecting the frontal and/or temporal lobe. Three main phenotypes are recognised, each with a distinct clinical and cognitive profile: behavioural‐variant FTD (bvFTD), semanti...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia is characterized by a number of ostensibly disparate clinical features, which have largely been considered independently. This Update proposes an integrated conceptual framework for these symptoms, by bringing together findings from animal studies, functional neuroimaging and behavioural neurology. The co...
Article
Objective: Apathy is the most prevalent and disabling non-cognitive symptom of dementia and affects 90% of patients across the disease course. Despite its pervasiveness, how apathy manifests across dementia syndromes and the neurobiological mechanisms driving these symptoms are poorly understood. Here, we applied the multidimensional ABC model of...
Article
Full-text available
The importance of assessing social cognition to characterize dementia syndromes is increasingly recognized, with lower social cognition capacity associated with reduced functional independence and greater carer burden. Emotion recognition is impaired in both behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia, yet the social and behav...
Article
Impaired capacity for Theory of Mind (ToM) represents one of the hallmark features of the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and is suggested to underpin an array of socioemotional disturbances characteristic of this disorder. In contrast, while social processing typically remains intact in Alzheimer's disease (AD), the cognitive...
Article
Full-text available
There is a need for short, reliable, sensitive assessment tools to measure social cognition. The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT) is an ecologically valid instrument that uses videos of actors engaged in everyday conversations to assess emotion perception, the ability to detect lies, sarcasm and sincerity, and the ability to judge what ot...
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Full-text available
The demographic structure of Latin American countries (LAC) is fast approaching that of developing countries, and the predicted prevalence of dementia in the former already exceeds the latter. Dementia has been declared a global challenge, yet regions around the world show differences in both the nature and magnitude of such a challenge. This paper...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia is characterised by insidious changes in personality and interpersonal conduct that reflect progressive disintegration of the neural circuits involved in social cognition, emotion regulation, motivation and decision making. The underlying pathology is heterogeneous and classified according to the presence...
Article
Background/aims: Although some patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) exhibit novel or improved skills after the onset of dementia, these changes have yet to be quantified. Therefore, this study systematically explored and identified the emergence of positive behaviours after dementia onset. Methods: This study included 48 carers of pat...