Atrophy discovery could lead to improved diagnostics for dementia

AUSTRALIAN researchers have located the site of atrophy in the brains of people with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), potentially improving ability to diagnose the disease.

Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Michael Hornberger, from the University of NSW, said until now the region of the brain responsible for disinhibition in people with FTD was unknown.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, Dr Hornberger and colleagues pinpointed regions in the orbital frontal cortex where atrophy corresponded with the behavioural changes.

“This type of atrophy is specific to frontotemporal dementia, so we can now use brain imaging as a way of distinguishing between Alzheimer’s disease and FTD,” he said in a statement.

The ability to predict behaviour-change would benefit carers and, long-term, the discovery may provide new therapeutic targets.