Project - Defining the overlap between Motor Neuron Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Schizophrenia to Identify Novel Biomarkers of Neurodegeneration
All Chief investigators and associate investigators
CIA – Emma Devenney
Research Project Abstract
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) and Motor Neuron Disease (MND) are terminal, debilitating diseases with shared clinical, cognitive and pathological features. The economic and social burden is immense and as yet there are no effective cures or symptomatic therapies largely due to lack of reliable biomarkers of early disease. This has direct implications for clinical care that spans not only therapeutic challenges but also impacts significantly on the family unit who frequently report distress due to initial misdiagnosis and diagnostic delay that in turn delays access to support and interventional services.
My research program has identified an overlap between neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and contributes to the accumulating evidence for a neurodegenerative-neuropsychiatric spectrum. My current research project (funding from 2020 – 2024) aims to harness this overlap between neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatry to address the urgent need for biomarkers of early disease states by applying a cross-specialty approach.
Dementia, MND, FTD, Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Challenges within the field
Despite significant efforts to identify biomarkers of early disease there remains a marked delay to diagnosis in MND and FTD and in many cases of FTD there is an initial misdiagnosis of a psychiatric disorder. Early symptoms can remain elusive to neurological investigations and particularly for MND many patients do not satisfy entry criteria to clinical trials until later in their disease course. At this stage, the progressive pathological process is already well-established.