[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We believe this is the first study to investigate associations between blood metabolites and neocortical amyloid burden (NAB) in the search for a blood-based biomarker for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Further, we present the first multi-modal analysis of blood markers in this field. We used blood plasma samples from 91 subjects enrolled in the University of California, San Francisco Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre. Non-targeted metabolomic analysis was used to look for associations with NAB using both single and multiple metabolic feature models. Five metabolic features identified subjects with high NAB, with 72% accuracy. We were able to putatively identify four metabolites from this panel and improve the model further by adding fibrinogen gamma chain protein measures (accuracy=79%). One of the five metabolic features was studied in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative cohort, but results were inconclusive. If replicated in larger, independent studies, these metabolic features and proteins could form the basis of a blood test with potential for enrichment of amyloid pathology in anti-amyloid trials.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Translational Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To characterize the cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms of patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) over the natural course of the disease.
We examined the initial and subsequent neuropsychological test performance and neuropsychiatric symptoms in a large cohort of patients with bvFTD (n = 204) across progressive stages of disease as measured by the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). We also compared cognitive and neuropsychiatric impairments of patients with bvFTD to those of an age-matched cohort with Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia (n = 674).
At the earliest stage (CDR = 0.5), patients with bvFTD had profound neuropsychiatric disturbances, insensitivity to errors, slower response times, and poor naming, with intact attention span, memory, and facial affect naming. Tests continuing to show progressive, statistically significant stepwise declines after the CDR = 1 stage included free recall, visuoconstruction, set-shifting, error insensitivity, semantic fluency, design fluency, emotion naming, calculations, confrontation naming, syntax comprehension, and verbal agility. At CDR = 0.5, patients with bvFTD significantly outperformed patients with AD in episodic memory and were faster in set-shifting, while scoring quantitatively worse in lexical fluency, emotion naming, and error sensitivity. The overall rate of disease progression in bvFTD was more rapid than in AD.
There are distinct patterns of cognitive deficits differentiating the earlier and later disease stages in bvFTD, with the pattern of cognitive decline revealing in greater detail the natural history of the disease. These cognitive symptoms are readily apparent clinical markers of dysfunction in the principal brain networks known to undergo molecular and anatomical changes in bvFTD, thus are important indicators of the evolving pathology in individual patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group comparisons demonstrate greater visuospatial and memory deficits and temporoparietal-predominant degeneration on neuroimaging in patients with corticobasal syndrome (CBS) found to have Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology versus those with underlying frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). The value of these features in predicting underlying AD pathology in individual patients is unknown. The goal of this study is to evaluate the utility of modified clinical criteria and visual interpretations of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) for predicting amyloid deposition (as a surrogate of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology) in patients presenting with CBS.
In total, 25 patients meeting CBS core criteria underwent amyloid (Pittsburgh compound B; PIB) PET scans. Clinical records, MRI, and FDG scans were reviewed blinded to PIB results. Modified clinical criteria were used to classify CBS patients as temporoparietal variant CBS (tpvCBS) or frontal variant CBS (fvCBS). MRI and FDG-PET were classified based on the predominant atrophy/hypometabolism pattern (frontal or temporoparietal).
A total of 9 out of 13 patients classified as tpvCBS were PIB+, compared to 2out of 12 patients classified as fvCBS (P < 0.01, sensitivity 82%, specificity 71% for PIB+ status). Visual MRI reads had 73% sensitivity and 46% specificity for PIB+ status with moderate intra-rater reliability (Cohen's kappa = 0.42). Visual FDG reads had higher sensitivity (91%) for PIB+ status with perfect intra-rater reliability (kappa = 1.00), though specificity was low (50%). PIB results were confirmed in all 8 patients with available histopathology (3 PIB+ with confirmed AD, 5 PIB- with FTLD).
Splitting CBS patients into frontal or temporoparietal clinical variants can help predict the likelihood of underlying AD, but criteria require further refinement. Temporoparietal-predominant neuroimaging patterns are sensitive but not specific for AD.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Alzheimer's Research and Therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although TDP-43 is the main constituent of the ubiquitinated cytoplasmic inclusions in the most common forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, TARDBP mutations are not a common cause of familial frontotemporal dementia, especially in the absence of motor neuron disease.
We describe a pedigree presenting with a complex autosomal dominant disease, with a heterogeneous clinical phenotype, comprising unspecified dementia, parkinsonism, frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease. Genetic analyses identified a novel P112H TARDBP double variation located in exon 3 coding for the first RNA recognition motif of the protein (RRM1). This double mutation is probably pathogenic based on neuropathological findings, in silico prediction analysis and exome sequencing. The two autopsied siblings described here presented with frontotemporal dementia involving multiple cognitive domains and behavior but lacking symptoms of motor neuron disease throughout the disease course. The siblings presented with strikingly similar, although atypical, neuropathological features, including an unclassifiable TDP-43 inclusion pattern, a high burden of tau-negative β-amyloid neuritic plaques with an AD-like biochemical profile, and an unclassifiable 4-repeat tauopathy. The co-occurrence of multiple protein inclusions points to a pathogenic mechanism that facilitates misfolded protein interaction and aggregation or a loss of TDP-43 function that somehow impairs protein clearance.
TARDBP mutation screening should be considered in familial frontotemporal dementia cases, even without signs or symptoms of motor neuron disease, especially when other more frequent causes of genetic frontotemporal dementia (i.e. GRN, C9ORF72, MAPT) have been excluded and when family history is complex and includes parkinsonism, motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia. Further investigations in this family may provide insight into the physiological functions of TARDBP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a diagnostically challenging case of a 64-year-old man with a history of remote head trauma who developed mild behavioral changes and dyscalculia. He was diagnosed with clinical Alzheimer's disease (AD), with additional features consistent with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Structural magnetic resonance imaging revealed atrophy in bilateral frontal and parietal cortices and hippocampi on visual inspection and left frontal pole and bilateral anterior temporal encephalomalacia, suspected to be due to head trauma. Consistent with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's pathology, positron emission tomography (PET) with Pittsburgh compound B suggested the presence of beta-amyloid. Fluorodeoxyglucose PET demonstrated hypometabolism in bilateral frontal and temporoparietal cortices. Voxel-based morphometry showed atrophy predominant in ventral frontal regions (bilateral orbitofrontal cortex, pregenual anterior cingulate/medial superior frontal gyrus), bilateral mid cingulate, bilateral lateral temporal cortex, and posterior insula. Bilateral caudate, thalamus, hippocampi, and cerebellum were prominently atrophied. Unexpectedly, a pathologic hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 was identified in this patient. This report underscores the clinical variability in C9ORF72 expansion carriers and the need to consider mixed pathologies, particularly when imaging studies are inconsistent with a single syndrome or pathology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the aftermath of multiple high-profile cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in professional American football players, physicians in clinical practice are likely to face an increasing number of retired football players seeking evaluation for chronic neurobehavioral symptoms. Guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of these patients are sparse. Clinical criteria for a diagnosis of CTE are under development. The contribution of CTE vs other neuropathologies to neurobehavioral symptoms in these players remains unclear. Here we describe the experience of our academic memory clinic in evaluating and treating a series of 14 self-referred symptomatic players. Our aim is to raise awareness in the neurology community regarding the different clinical phenotypes, idiosyncratic but potentially treatable symptoms, and the spectrum of underlying neuropathologies in these players.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Neurology: Clinical Practice (Print)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PET ligands that bind with high specificity to amyloid plaques represent a major breakthrough in Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. Amyloid neuroimaging is now approved by the US FDA to aid in the diagnosis of AD, and is being used to identify amyloid-positive but asymptomatic individuals for secondary AD prevention trials. The use of amyloid neuroimaging in preclinical populations raises important ethical and practical challenges, including determining appropriate uses of this technology, evaluating the potential benefits and harms of disclosing results, and communicating effectively about testing with patients and family members. Emerging policy issues also require consideration (e.g., legal safeguards for biomarker-positive individuals). Further research is needed to inform effective and ethical implementation and regulation of amyloid imaging.