Advancing our Understanding of Brain-Behavior Relationships

In many of our studies, we have examined the relationships between impairments in abilities in patients with FTD or AD or related conditions, and abnormalities in brain structure, function, or in molecules such as tau that should not be building up in abnormal ways in the brain. These studies help us understand how and why symptoms are present. In some cases, we have long understood the functions of a particular brain region and are essentially confirming standard neurological predictions. For example, we know that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is usually an illness that causes problems with memory, but some of our research has illuminated more specific details about how some people with AD have poorer memory because they don’t learn it very well (and have problems in visual or language brain regions that process incoming words or pictures) while other people with AD have poorer memory because the brain regions that normally help store information we learn have deteriorated. Some of these brain regions are part of larger networks, or circuits, that link them together to perform different aspects of these complex thinking abilities; our work has shown that we can understand patients’ symptoms better if we consider brain shrinkage (neurodegeneration) in the context of the normal organization of brain networks.

Selected Publications

  • Ratti E, Domoto-Reilly K, Caso C, Murphy A, Brickhouse M, Hochberg D, Makris N, Cudkowicz ME, Dickerson BC. Regional prefrontal cortical atrophy predicts specific cognitive-behavioral symptoms in ALS-FTD. Brain Imaging Behav. 2021 Feb 15. doi: 10.1007/s11682-021-00456-1.
  • Luo C, Makaretz S, Stepanovic M, Papadimitriou G, Quimby M, Palanivelu S, Dickerson BC, Makris N. Middle longitudinal fascicle is associated with semantic processing deficits in primary progressive aphasia. Neuroimage Clin. 2020;25:102115. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.102115
  • Cordella C, Quimby M, Touroutoglou A, Brickhouse M, Dickerson BC, and Green JR. Quantification of motor speech impairment and its anatomic basis in primary progressive aphasia.  Neurology 2019; 92(17): e1992-e2004.
  • Ducharme S, Price BH, Dickerson BC. Apathy: a neurocircuitry model based on frontotemporal dementia. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2018 Apr;89(4):389-396.