Zachary A. Miller, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Memory and Aging Center & Dyslexia Center
University of California, San Francisco
Thursday October 22, 2020 | 12:00pm Central
Zoom link: https://utexas.zoom.us/j/94727072504
Title: Towards a New Epidemiology of Aging & Dementia
Abstract: Increasing evidence suggests that neurodevelopmental differences may account, in part, for susceptibility of the language network to neurodegenerative disease. Within primary progressive aphasia (PPA), studies have shown an increased prevalence of non-right-handedness in semantic variant PPA and an increased amount of language-based learning disabilities (LD) within logopenic variant PPA. A disorder of the phonological system, with degeneration of the left posterior temporal and inferior parietal regions, logopenic variant PPA possesses similar cognitive and anatomical localization to the most common language-based LD observed in the general population, developmental dyslexia. This correspondence suggests that the presence of language-based LD might alter the neuroanatomical reserve of the phonological language network, affecting both the presentation and clinical course of neurodegenerative disease in susceptible individuals. Further, we have shown that this phenomenon appears to generalize to other non-language-based domains, with observations of increased amounts of mathematical/visuospatial-based LD within posterior cortical atrophy. As such, lessons learned in PPA might have wider range implications for neurodegenerative disease susceptibility. Given the under-recognized impact neurodevelopment may have on cognitive health and aging, we launched an ambitious program over 5 years ago to characterize developmental disorders across the lifespan. In this talk we will discuss our prior findings along with our most recent results, which expand our findings to now include motor speech disorders such as developmental stuttering and behavioral conditions like autism spectrum disorder, together arguing for a new approach to the epidemiology of aging and dementia.