Thursday, March 27, 2008

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Frontotemporal Dementia

Wittenberg D, Possin KL, Rascovsky K, Rankin KP, Miller BL, & Kramer JH. The Early Neuropsychological and Behavioral Characteristics of Frontotemporal Dementia. Neuropsychological Review. 2008 Feb 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Memory and Aging Center, University of California—San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) represent a constellation of disorders that may be overlooked or misdiagnosed, despite being fairly common presenile neurodegenerative diseases. Although the cognitive disorder can be difficult to document, particularly early in the dementia course, neuropsychological evaluation can assist in the diagnosis. Neuropsychologists are in an excellent position to draw from related disciplines like personality theory and social psychology to better assess the types of changes that characterize the prodromal and early phases of the disease. This review summarizes the current state of the field in the diagnosis of FTLD and discusses the emerging role of neuropsychology in elucidating the brain organization of complex processes including empathy, behavioral control and inhibition, reward systems, appetitive behaviors, emotional regulation, and goal-orientation. As this review underscores, frontotemporal dementia remains a powerful model for studying brain-behavior relationships.

PMID: 18311522 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Bondi MW, Jak AJ, Delano-Wood L, Jacobson MW, Delis DC, & Salmon DP. Neuropsychological Contributions to the Early Identification of Alzheimer's Disease. Neuropsychological Review. 2008 Mar 18.

A wealth of evidence demonstrates that a prodromal period of Alzheimer's disease (AD) exists for some years prior to the appearance of significant cognitive and functional declines required for the clinical diagnosis. This prodromal period of decline is characterized by a number of different neuropsychological and brain changes, and reliable identification of individuals prior to the development of significant clinical symptoms remains a top priority of research. In this review we provide an overview of those neuropsychological changes. In particular, we examine specific domains of cognition that appear to be negatively affected during the prodromal period of AD, and we review newer analytic strategies designed to examine cognitive asymmetries or discrepancies between higher-order cognitive functions versus fundamental skills. Finally, we provide a critical examination of the clinical concept of Mild Cognitive Impairment and offer suggestions for an increased focus on the impact of cerebrovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk during the prodromal period of AD.

PMID: 18347989 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pediatric Brain Tumors

From today's New York Times:

A Daring Treatment, a Little Girl’s Survival
Published: March 18, 2008

Melanie Joy McDaniel is a study subject but also a reminder of how medical research can change lives.

[ ... Read the full article ... ]