Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2009
Mentor: Kyle Womack, MD
Room number: J4.122A
Mail Code: 9129
Phone number: 214-645-4032
Project titles: Radiological biomarkers of Fronto-Temporal Lobar Degeneration
Human subjects IRB approved project numbers (where applicable): IRB # 092007-071; Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): Not applicable
Project Type: Patient-oriented research
Brief Description of Projects:
FTLD, as its name implies, is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition
that selectively affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, with relative
sparing of more posterior regions. It is the third most common degenerative
dementia and occurs in about 5% of memory disorder clinic patients. Standard
structural MRI is often used diagnostically but has significant limitations
for reliably separating FTLD patients from AD patients and even from normals.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is an MRI technique that can be performed during
the course of a routine MRI scan and involves no radiation exposure and no exposure
to intravenous contrast agents. The risk to subjects is minimal and no different
than conventional MRI. It is sensitive to changes in white matter integrity
that are not visible on standard MRI sequences and there have been some studies
of DTI in Alzheimer's Disease, but very little has been published using this
technique in FTLD.
We have pilot data demonstrating differences in DTI tractography measures for the corpus callosum, anterior corpus callosum and uncinate fasiculus between FTLD patients and controls.
All FTLD subjects must meet a diagnosis of FTLD (any subtype), be enrolled in the FTLD cohort of the UT Southwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC [IRB file #0484 35000]) and have a score of ?15 on the MMSE within 6 months of the time of enrollment. Normal control subjects must be enrolled in the normal control cohort of the ADC which requires them to be without cognitive complaint (verified by an informant). All subjects, including normal controls, must have an informant who is willing to accompany the patient to research visits and who has enough interaction with the subject to be able to answer questions about the subject's cognitive function and behavior.
The fellow will be primarily involved in identifying eligible patients, prospectively collecting clinical information relating to the neuropsychological variables. Afternoons will be spent obtaining outcome information via telephone interviews and analyzing MRI data using MRICro and DTI Studio.