Help improve FTD diagnosis and patient care Learn more.

Help improve FTD diagnosis and patient care Learn more

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Clinical Research

  • Amyloid PET in AD, FTD & PPA

    Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) have overlapping features and can be difficult to distinguish based on symptoms, cognitive testing or even MRI. Beta-amyloid is a protein that aggregates in the brain in AD but usually not in FTD. Pittsburgh Compound-B (PIB) is an imaging tracer that binds to amyloid and can be detected by brain imaging with a PET scanner. The goal of this study is to determine whether brain imaging with PIB-PET can improve diagnostic accuracy in discriminating between AD and FTD, and thus govern appropriate specific treatment for each disease.

  • Creation of Stem Cells from Patients with FTD

    In this study, investigators will use skin cells from people with either a genetic or sporadic form of frontotemporal dementia, as well as control subjects, to transform them first into pluripotent stem cells and ultimately into neurons that are genetically identical to the affected neurons in the patient. These cells would lead to the development of models to study the disease, for which there are currently no adequate human in vitro or animal models.

  • Eye Movement Control in Adults

    In this study, we aim to learn about the mechanisms of eye movement control and visual perception, as well as how these functions may change with different neurologic diseases. Subjects view visual stimuli presented on a television monitor while their eye movements are recorded using safe, infrared technology. At times, we may ask questions about some of the pictures shown, and these answers may be recorded.

  • fMRI of Autonomic Physiology in FTD and AD

    In this study, the investigators are examining how brain activity relates to autonomic responses (i.e., heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration) in healthy subjects and patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other closely related neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Images and Emotions

    The purpose of this study is to help understand the clinical, emotional, genetic and imaging features of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) as well as the neuropathology of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and related disorders. The investigators will collect longitudinal data to be analyzed with the goal of improving clinical care for patients with FTD. Depending on the individual, there will be 4 to 6 visits to UCSF over a three month period of time, each year for up to five years. Comprehensive genetic counseling, medical consultation and autopsy are available through this study.

  • Healthy Aging

    The purpose of the Hillblom Aging Network study is to learn more about how a healthy person ages and what changes in the brain occur with aging.

  • Measuring Social Behavior in Neurodegenerative Disease

    The purpose of this study is to adapt measures of social and emotional cognition to help identify characteristic patterns of altered social functioning in different neurodegenerative diseases, measure specific symptoms found to improve early diagnosis of these disorders, and improve our knowledge of normal social and emotional cognition in healthy older adults. This project also aims to link any findings with structural neuroanatomy to improve our understanding of the neurologic foundations for social and emotional behavior.

  • Measuring Attention & Executive Function

    The primary goal of this study is to determine the differences in attention and the underlying brain regions responsible for attention, one of the executive functions. Participants will take computer-based tests measuring attention and reaction time for approximately one hour.

  • Measuring Executive Function

    The purpose of this research study is to determine how to more reliably and validly measure executive function across a variety of diagnoses, ages, education levels and races. Participants take a number neuropsychological tests for 30-180 minutes, either in one visit or over several visits depending upon the participant's availability.

  • New Approaches to Dementia Heterogeneity

    The purpose of this study is to collect information from various tests of brain function with the goal of improving early detection and clinical care for patients with dementia. Information is collected longitudinally and includes clinical, imaging, behavioral and autopsy data. Depending on the individual, there will be 2 to 4 visits over a three month period of time, each year for up to five years.

  • Neuroimaging in Frontotemporal Dementia (NIFD)

    This study seeks to determine the best neuroimaging methods to diagnose and track the progression of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and compare these results to other biomarkers of the disease. Objective outcome measures are essential to test possible therapeutics in clinical trials