Genetics of Frontotemporal Dementia: A Family Story

Almost 30 years ago, a middle-aged woman traveled to an Alzheimer’s Association meeting in Southern California with a copy of her mother’s autopsy in her bag. It read simply: dementia lacking distinct characteristics. She’d had her mother’s brain sent cross-country to try to figure out why she – and her two sisters and a cousin – died with a dementia that caused them to act impulsively and irrationally. It wasn’t just the bizarre behavior she was curious and concerned about. In illness, her mother’s brain was shrinking, and she’d lost so much of who she had been in her younger years. (She was 50 when people began noticing something very odd about her behavior.) But as her cognitive skills diminished she gained something rather remarkable: an exquisite talent for painting horses and landscapes and people. Read more

Finding Words: Finding a New Voice

It began with a word. It was not the meaning of the word but its pronunciation. A few months passed and there were even more words that couldn’t come out right. First, he noticed that they were longer words, and in time, he was having problems with shorter words too. The words would eventually land chaotically in the air. One syllable after another choppy syllable. Any hints of grace or fluency were gone. In time, he started leaving out adjectives and conjunctions. Read more

13th Annual Huntington Disease Research Symposium

We are excited to be able to stream our 13th Annual Huntington’s Disease Research Symposium live this year! The UCSF Memory and Aging Center’s annual Huntington’s Disease Research Symposium is a free conference intended for HD patients, caregivers, families and healthcare professionals. Come hear the latest research updates from experts in the field – from bench to bedside. Read more