Discoveries about the genetic bases of frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD) have provided researchers with an unprecedented ability to characterize the pre-symptomatic stages of this disease. This capability is critical to ascertaining the earliest clinical features of the disease and identifying biomarkers that can be used for early diagnosis and in treatment studies. The proposed project will examine individuals from a single family with a genetic mutation for FTLD who are approaching the age of disease onset, offering a unique and highly controlled environment in which to identify the earliest clinical features and biomarkers of this devastating disease. Specifically, this study proposes to follow the offspring generation of a large family with a known mutation in the MAPT (tau) gene to determine the earliest clinical features of FTLD and the variables which may modify disease onset and course. At least 90 members of the offspring generation of a single family will be offered participation in a longitudinal study examining cognition, behavior, psychiatric symptoms, and lifestyle features. Moreover, this proposal includes the use of state of the art neuroimaging tools including both structural and functional modalities, gray and white matter quantification, and regional and network analyses to detect the earliest signs of disease. Individuals will undergo genetic testing to determine carrier status, will be comprehensively characterized at baseline, and will be followed annually over the course of the study to examine change in clinical and imaging variables over time as a function of carrier status. Additionally, the proposed study will carefully characterize lifetime physical activity and alcohol and recreational drug use to determine if these lifestyle variables are early manifestations of disease and / or modify disease onset and course. Finally, biological specimens including cerebrospinal fluid and blood plasma will be longitudinally collected in an effort to characterize changes in brain protein levels that may provide early information regarding the onset and course of disease.

Public Health Relevance

Improved characterization of FTLD at its earliest stages is a necessary step in facilitating earlier disease detection and developing disease modifying therapeutics that can be applied in advance of irrevocable neuropathological changes.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
1R01NS076837-01A1
Application #
8439912
Study Section
Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging Study Section (APDA)
Program Officer
Sutherland, Margaret L
Project Start
2012-09-21
Project End
2017-07-31
Budget Start
2012-09-21
Budget End
2013-07-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$595,074
Indirect Cost
$173,183
Name
Columbia University (N.Y.)
Department
Neurology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
621889815
City
New York
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
10032
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