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CONy 2021 | Imaging biomarkers in frontotemporal dementia: MRI & PET

Martina Bocchetta, PhD, University College London, London, UK, discusses imaging biomarkers in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Currently, the most widely used techniques are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), which can acquire a number of different markers, from brain volume, functional or structural connectivity to brain perfusion. The information imaging biomarkers provide is highly complementary to blood and CSF biomarkers as well as cognition and clinical measurements. Therefore, it is essential to include a combination of different types of biomarkers when considering the optimal biomarker for the diagnosis of FDT or to be used in clinical trials. This interview was conducted during the virtual 2021 World Congress on Controversies in Neurology (CONy) meeting.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

In terms of imaging biomarkers in the context of frontotemporal dementia, the key ones will be magnetic resonance imaging and PET, and this is because are two of the most widely used techniques. And with this type of technique, you can extract a number of different markers. So if we think about magnetic resonance imaging, you have measures of volumes with T1-weighted images, measures of functional or structural connectivity with resting-state fMRI or diffusion, and also a measures of brain perfusion using arterial spin labeling...

In terms of imaging biomarkers in the context of frontotemporal dementia, the key ones will be magnetic resonance imaging and PET, and this is because are two of the most widely used techniques. And with this type of technique, you can extract a number of different markers. So if we think about magnetic resonance imaging, you have measures of volumes with T1-weighted images, measures of functional or structural connectivity with resting-state fMRI or diffusion, and also a measures of brain perfusion using arterial spin labeling. And when we think about PET, the most commonly used technique is FDG, which allows us to look at the hypometabolism in the brain. And also we have measure to study the uptake of specific proteins such as tau and other measures of synaptic or inflammation in the brain.

When we consider the imaging biomarkers in the context of frontotemporal dementia and thinking about their relationship with other form of biomarker, the information that they provide is extremely complementary with what we can see in the blood, what we can see in the cerebral spinal fluid. And also, of course, all the measure that are related to cognition and clinical measurement, so all this information are really interlinked and it’s important that when we think about what’s the best biomarker for the clinical diagnosis of any FTD forms or for measure that we might be able to use in clinical trials. It’s truly important that we consider all these biomarkers together, so it’s thinking in terms of a combination of different information coming from different fields.

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