Associative memory in frontotemporal dementia
Associative memory processes are crucial to the formation and retrieval of memories. Associative memory deficits in patients with FTD have not been thoroughly investigated. The aim of this project is to assess associative memory abilities in patients with different subtypes of FTD, patients with Alzheimer’s disease and healthy controls. We are utilising a number of novel associative memory tasks in an attempt to identify subtle deficits in associative memory abilities in these groups. Such tasks may be useful clinically and contribute to improving the diagnostic accuracy of patients with dementia in the early stages of the disease.
Episodic future thinking in frontotemporal dementia
Imagine the next time you will take a holiday abroad. What will you do in a few hours? What will you do next week…next month…next year? Thinking about the future, withdrawing from our current tasks to imagine, daydream, and construct possible future scenarios is something we all engage in. Imagining the future depends on the same neural system that is recruited when remembering the past. When dementia patients experience difficulties remembering the past, is their ability to imagine the future also affected? This study investigates episodic future thinking in frontotemporal dementia, to explore the impact of damage to the episodic memory system and how this affects the ability to conceive of oneself in the future.
Emotional memory in frontotemporal dementia
All memories are not created equal. Emotion has a powerful impact on memory with highly emotional events generally remembered with greater detail and vividness than events that lack emotion. The brain regions necessary for both emotion and memory are affected in frontotemporal dementia. Although disturbance of emotion has been reported in frontotemporal dementia, whether it also impacts on memory has not been investigated. This project aims to determine how these emotion and memory interact in FTD, and how they differ across subtypes.
Emotion processes in FTD subtypes
How people interpret and recognize emotions in others is critical for everyday social interactions and the formation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships. Evidence now suggests that the ability to recognise emotions in others is disturbed in frontotemporal dementia. This project aims to investigate how emotion processing is disturbed across subtypes of frontotemporal dementia and determine whether there are ways to improve emotion recognition in these groups. This will help us to understand the mechanisms important for emotion processing, and help to find ways for patients and their families to overcome these difficulties