Measuring Social Behavior in Neurodegenerative Disease

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of socioemotional testing and functional MR imaging (fMRI) to better understand the neural circuits underlying social behavior and socioemotional changes seen in some neurodegenerative diseases. Testing and imaging results will be used to identify 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 findings with 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 or svPPA), unless participating as a healthy volunteer. Subjects must also have a Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) score above 15, be able to understand testing procedures and be willing and able to undergo an MRI scan that will last between 60 and 120 minutes.

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 functional MRI (fMRI) scans that will last between 60 and 120 minutes.

The Frequency of Visits: 2 times, 18 months apart for MRIs. We may ask you to come in prior to the first MRI for additional screening and for the creation of an MRI headcase.

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. Participants will be allowed to keep their custom MRI head cases at the end of the study.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact the study coordinator, Patrick Callahan, at [email protected] or 415.514.3973.