This study is designed to document the loss of social and moral emotions (such as empathy, guilt, and embarrassment) in patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). The loss of these emotions, which motivate social behavior, will become evident in specific interpersonal behaviors. These behaviors will correlate with regional changes in the medial frontal and anterior temporal lobes. These social and emotional changes will be compared with those in a young-onset Alzheimer's disease group.
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Frontotemporal dementia is one the most common neurodegenerative diseases in middle age. The most prominent early manifestations of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) are not the memory and other cognitive deficits typical of Alzheimer's disease but disturbance in social or interpersonal behavior. A basic manifestation of this disorder is a disturbance in the emotions and motives that drive social and moral behavior.
This study will help clarify the neurobiological substrates of sociomoral emotions and their associated clinical features. The findings may have major implications for understanding the interaction between the brain and social behavior and for designing future research on the basic mechanisms of social neuroscience.
This research aims to document the loss of sociomoral emotions compared to primary emotions in patients with bvFTD compared with patients with Alzheimer's and normal controls. The project consists of three integrated parts: 1) behavioral measures that include observations in naturalistic settings, behavioral experiments, and behavioral scales; 2) psychophysiological reactivity to social and emotional stimuli (i.e., measures of heart rate, blood pressure changes, galvanic skin response, facial electromyography, and facial temperature); and 3) brain localization of changes in sociomoral emotions with magnetic resonance imaging technology.
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Geolocation is 34.070264, -118.4440562
UCLA Department of Neurology
University of California, Los Angeles
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Mario F. Mendez, MD, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles; Veteran's Health Administration, West Los Angeles
Jill Shapira, RN, PhD