Associate Professor Rebekah Ahmed

Associate Professor Rebekah Ahmed, NHMRC Early Career Fellow and Director of Memory and Cognition Clinic, The University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Rebekah is a NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Brain and Mind Centre and staff specialist Neurologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where she directs the multidisciplinary Memory and Cognition Clinic. She graduated from Medicine at the University of Adelaide (University Medal) and completed her Neurology training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She was awarded the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurology Fellowship to the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. She also completed a Clinical Research Fellowship at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London. Her PhD focused on eating and metabolic abnormalities in Frontotemporal dementia and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She is a clinician scientist with her research focusing on metabolic biomarkers in neurodegeneration.

Forefront Group:

  • BMC FRONTIER Frontotemporal Disease Research Group
  • Dominantly Inherited Non-Alzheimer Dementias (DINAD) Research Group

Affiliate Organisations:

Memory and Cognition Clinic, Department of Clinical Neurosciences Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Neurodegeneration of interest:

AD, FTD, MND, Neurodegeneration


  • Dementia
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Physiology

Specific Skills:

  • Neurologist
  • Clinical Phenotyping
  • Clinician Scientist
  • Metabolic aspects of Neurodegeneration

Project - Eating, Metabolic and physiological changes in FTD and ALS

Research Project Abstract

Neurodegenerative brain diseases, one of our most important public health issues have been traditionally classified as either cognitive or motor syndromes. However, there is considerable overlap in the clinical symptoms and pathological appearance of these diseases and their effect on the physiological functioning and regulatory mechanisms essential to maintain bodily function. My research focuses on several neurodegenerative diseases especially young onset (<65 years), including Alzheimer’s Disease (mainly affecting memory), frontotemporal dementia (affecting behaviour and / or language) and Motor Neurone Disease/ Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (affecting motor systems). Each of these conditions affects eating and metabolism, the autonomic nervous system (temperature regulation, blood pressure control and pain regulation), sleep and motor function, showing that these conditions should not be simply regarded as cognitive or motor disorders, but rather degenerative diseases that ultimately produce failure of the entire body’s physiological systems. There are key neural structures and networks in the brain controlling these changes. Detecting these changes early in the disease should improve diagnosis, provide reliable indicators of disease progression, and aid in understanding the underlying pathological processes, potentially paving the way to develop effective treatments to modify the outcome in these devastating conditions

Project with a disease tag

Dementia, MND, FTD

Research Objectives

  • Improve Clinical phenotyping
  • Early accurate diagnosis
  • Biomarkers to map disease progression

Key Publications from this project

  • 1.Ahmed RM, Ke YD, Vucic S, Ittner LM, Seeley W, Hodges JR, Piguet O, Halliday G, Kiernan MC. Clinical phenotyping and tracking physiological alterations in neurodegenerative diseases. Nature Reviews Neurol. 2018;14(5):259-271
  • Ahmed RM, Landin-Romero R, Collet TH, van der Klaauw AA, Devenney E, Henning E, Kiernan MC, Piguet O, Farooqi IS, Hodges JR. Energy expenditure in frontotemporal dementia: a behavioural imaging study. Brain 2017;140:171-183.
  • Ahmed RM, Irish M, Piguet O Halliday G, Itnner L, Farooqi S, Hodges J, Kiernan M. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia: distinct and overlapping changes in eating and metabolism. Lancet Neurology 2016;15:332-442.
  • Ahmed RM, Irish M, Henning E, Dermody N, Bartley L, Kiernan M, Piguet O, Farooqi S, Hodges J. Assessment of eating behaviour disturbance and associated neural networks in frontotemporal dementia. JAMA Neurology 2016;73:282-290.
  • Ahmed RM, Irish M, Bartley L, Kam J, Van Keizerswaard J, Samaras K, Hodges J, Piguet O. Quantifying the eating abnormalities in frontotemporal dementia. JAMA Neurology 2014;71:1540-1546

Key Findings

  • Characterising eating and metabolic changes in FTD and ALS
  • Delineating neural networks controlling these changes
  • Effect of metabolic changes on survival