The Grossman Laboratory aims to bridge the gap between clinical care, research, and education. Our mission is to improve care for patients with neurodegenerative disorders while gaining valuable information about the neural bases for cognition.
What is a Neurodegenerative Disease?
A neurodegenerative disease is a condition resulting from atrophy (shrinkage) of neurons (brain cells). This interferes with brain function including speech, comprehension, judgement, decision-making, movement, and memory. In the Grossman lab, we attend mainly to patients with some form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Corticobasal Dementia (CBD), Alzheimer's Disease (AD), and Parkinson's Disease (PD).
What is Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)?
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) refers to a group of neurodegenerative conditions that affect the frontal and temporal regions of the brain. These affected areas of the brain control speech and language, as well as personality and social functioning. FTD is characterized by a gradual impairment of language ability, self-awareness, and social behavior. Related conditions include corticobasal degeneration (CBD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) dementia. FTD is as common as Alzheimer's Disease in people less than 65 years old.
For more information about FTD go to: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ftd
What is Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)?
Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) refers to a specific form of frontotemporal dementia which affects speech, gestures, visual-spatial functioning, and movement. Some symptoms of CBD include progressive inability to perform simple calculations (Acalculia), difficulty with spatially-mediate tasks, involuntary movements, and muscle rigidity.
For more information about CBD go to: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ftd
What is Alzheimer's Disease (AD)?
Alzheimer's Disease is the most common neurodegenerative condition. It gradually leads to loss of various cognitive abilities such as memory, judgement, language, abstract thinking. AD can also cause extreme changes in personality and behaviors. Some symptoms of AD include memory loss, word-finding difficulty, poor sense of direction, difficulty accomplishing regularly daily tasks, and personality changes.
For more information about AD go to: http://www.alz.org/
What is Parkinson's Disease (PD)?
Parkinson's Disease (PD) is degenerative disorder which gradually leads to tremors, rigidity, slowed movements, and gait disorders. PD patients also experience cognitive deficits such as difficulty with selective attention and problem-solving.
For more information about PD go to: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/parkinsons_disease/parkinsons_disease.htm
How do patients with these disorders contribute to our research?
Patients with these neurodegenerative disorders, upon consent, participate in several methods of investigation for research purposes. Patients are given several other non-invasive neurocognitive behavioral tasks to perform, and many receive MRI scans while performing cognitive tasks.. Patients who have difficulty traveling to our facility are visited at their homes.
Patient information is kept strictly confidential and anonymous. Once a patient has contributed their time to perform a behavioral task, any personal identification information is stripped from the data. The anonymous data are then categorized based on the age range, and ailment of the patients and is subject to analysis. This information is helpful for improving diagnostic accuracy, developing measures for clinical trials, and are prototypes for mental exercises. A patient may also participate in a MRI scan for research purposes only. While in the MRI, images of brain activation are collected while a patient partakes in a cognitive task. The accuracy of responses during the task provides a behavorial measurement with which we compare a patient's brain image over time. These images reflect reorganization of brain functioning which is an important compensatory mechanism in the fore of brain disease. Comparisons provide major insight for our understanding of prognosis in neurodegenerative diseases.
How can you participate in our research?
Please visit our Volunteer Page and fill in the requested information. You will be contacted shortly regarding your interest in our research.