Analyse quantitative de l'épaisseur corticale à l'imagerie par résonance magnétique comme outil diagnostique pour la démence fronto-temporale


Simon Ducharme

CUSM - Institut neurologique de Montréal


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers cliniciens - Junior 1

Concours 2015-2016

BACKGROUND: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) describes a group of progressive brain diseases causing changes in behavior, language deficits, and cognitive decline. FTD is one of the most common forms of early-onset dementia (<65 year-old) and represents ≈5% of all dementia cases. The life expectancy is 3-10 years after the onset, and there are currently no treatments. Symptoms of FTD are difficult to identify clinically. Neuroimaging is important for the diagnosis, but in the early stages the loss of brain volume is frequently too subtle to be detected by the current imaging methods, which leads to unacceptable diagnostic delays. There is, therefore, a critical need for better diagnostic technologies.

OBJECTIVES: Cortical thickness (CTh) is a precise measurement of the cortical gray matter (outer layer of the brain) on magnetic resonance imaging. The main goal of this research program is to develop applications of CTh as a diagnostic tool for FTD. Our central hypothesis is that CTh will be better for the early diagnosis and disease monitoring of FTD than the currently available methods. This research program includes three complementary projects: 1) Provide a comprehensive description of cortical changes over time in FTD using the largest database on this disease; 2) Study CTh mapping in individual patients as a tool for the early diagnosis of FTD; 3) Perform brain-behavior analyses to determine the brain areas underlying neuropsychiatric symptoms of FTD.

RELEVANCE: This is an innovative project using a combination of a unique database and novel neuroimaging methods. The expected primary positive impact is to improve the speed and reliability of early FTD diagnoses. This work also lays the ground for future treatment development by seeking to identify neuroimaging markers of disease progression that could be used in clinical trials of new treatments.