Measuring Social Behavior in Neurodegenerative Disease

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to adapt measures of social and emotional cognition for valid use in neurodegenerative disease patients. The resulting battery of tests will be used to 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.

Study Details

Inclusion Criteria: Subjects must be enrolled in the Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Images and Emotions study, Healthy Aging study or New Approaches to Dementia Heterogeneity study. Subjects must meet criteria for one of the neurodegenerative diseases studied (bvFTD, AD, svPPA, nfvPPA, CBD, DLB, PSP and VaD), unless participating as a healthy volunteer. Subjects must also have a Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) score above 15 and be able to understand testing procedures.

Exclusion Criteria: Subjects who do not have an informant who has known the subject for more than five years and is willing to participate in the questionnaire portion of the evaluation, have a Clinical Dementia Rating Scale of more than 2.0, are unable to cooperate with testing procedures, or have neurologic findings that suggest a prominent non-neurodegenerative cause for cognitive/functional changes will be excluded.

What to Expect

Testing: Subjects’ social and emotional cognition and behavior will be measured using multiple modes of assessment such as face-to-face measures of general and social cognition, including computerized testing and observational clinical ratings. Every participant has an enrolled informant who completes questionnaires describing the subject’s behavior and personality.

The Frequency of Visits: One time only for individuals with neurodegenerative disease, and a total of three times over the course of one year for healthy older adults.

Materials Needed Before Evaluation: None

Costs: No costs will be charged for any of the study procedures. Parking will be validated for the 1625 Owens Street Garage or 1630 Third Street Garage at the UCSF Mission Bay campus for all study visits. Participants are responsible for their travel and hotel, should they choose to stay in one.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact the study director, Katherine Rankin, PhD, at Kate.Rankin@ucsf.edu or 415.502.0619.