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Title: The anatomy and pathology of semantic dementia
Author: Davies, R. R.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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This work is concerned with the structural and functional consequences of neurodegenerative pathology. The focus is the clinical syndrome of semantic dementia (SD). In a series of experiments, brains from SD cases are compared with the brains of control subjects and those of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, or with other forms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Three practical innovations are described. The first is the application of an existing cognitive test, the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination, to distinguishing SD from Alzheimer-type dementia. Then the development of two new visual rating methods for assessment brain regions on MRI is outlined, a lobar rating method used to compare patterns of atrophy in clinical variants of FTD and a more fine-grained regional rating method. These methods may be regarded as clinical tools with potential to differentiate dementing illnesses, and may also have uses in clinical research – in categorizing patients, and as means of quantification when more elaborate methods are either inappropriate or unavailable. The conceptual content, focusing on the syndrome of SD, may also be condensed into three points. (1) The key site of cerebral injury in SD, irrespective of the method of assessment, is the anterior temporal lobe, specifically the perirhinal cortex.  (2) SD has the most consistent pattern of cortical atrophy of the neurodegenerative syndromes studied, contrasting particularly with ‘behavioural-variant’ FTD. (3) The diagnostic neuropathology in SD is relatively homogenous with some three quarters of all SD cases showing pathological changes similar to those seen in motor neuron disease. The recurring theme is that the coherent neuropsychological impairments of SD are reflected in its consistent anatomy and pathology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available