Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a complex entity from a research and training perspective. The disorder affects a wide variety of neurological systems including cognitive, emotional, pyramidal, extrapyramidal, and lower motor neuron systems. The complex nature of FTLD requires that clinical researchers be familiar with techniques from many areas of clinical neuroscience, including the assessment of semantic processing and socioemotional function using measures like personality inventories and emotion knowledge tests, the assessment of unusual movement disorders including subtle changes in control of eye movement and the assessment of motor neuron function. In addition, imaging techniques relevant to FTLD include PET scanning using several ligands and multiple types of MRI sequences including Tl-weighted MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, perfusion MRI and functional MRI. Also mutations are relatively frequent as a cause for FTLD. Because of this, FTLD clinical researchers need to understand the complex ethical issues surrounding genetic testing, and how this affects the ability of family members to participate in research and the well-being of research participants. The FTLDCRC will provide an excellent opportunity for trainees to explore these issues in the context of a large multicenter network doing longitudinal assessment of FTLD in a manner similar to clinical trials. The FTLDCRC investigators have a wealth of experience in employing these techniques and in training emerging researchers to use them. They have been leaders in developing methods for diagnosing FTLD and tracking progression of FTLD in clinical trials. The infrastructure built by these investigators and the expertise they have developed over many years constitute an ideal environment for training emerging investigators in FTLD research.
The Aims for the training component of the FTLDCRC are: 1: To provide partial salary support for advanced clinical research fellows, 2: To provide a training infrastructure for FTLDCRC fellows, 3: To ensure trainee success through mentorship and supervision.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a complex entity from a research and training perspective. It affects many different neurological systems, can be assessed using many forms of brain imaging, and is often caused by genetic mutations. The training component of the FTLDCRC will train emerging clinical researchers to understand the roles of various techniques for diagnosing FTLD and tracking the disease in clinical trials.