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Clinical evaluation
Dr. Dickerson performs clinical evaluations aimed at diagnosis and treatment as a major focus of his clinical work with the MGH Memory Disorders Unit and Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and also as director of the MGH FTD Unit. Many individuals who initially come in for an evaluation get involved in research. Feel free to contact Dr. Dickerson via email ( to discuss a clinical evaluation. Read more here on clinical evaluation of cognitive impairment.

Welcome to the Dickerson Lab: Primary Progressive Aphasias

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Primary Progressive Aphasias (PPA) are slowly progressive language disorders related to neurodegeneration in the language networks of the brain. They are typically classified as a type of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Although reports of syndromes consistent with PPA were present in the medical literature starting in the late 19th century, the modern concept of PPA was originally described in 1982 by Drs. Marsel Mesulam, Sandra Weintraub, and colleagues.

There are several forms of PPA, including primary non-fluent aphasia (loss of production of language with relative preservation of comprehension) and semantic dementia (loss of comprehension of language with relative preservation of production. The diagnosis of these disorders can be challenging. A handful of specialized centers in the country are performing research on PPA. We focus our research on PPA on advancing our understanding of the brain-behavior relationships; that is, the relationship between changes in language and behavior and changes in the brain as detected via advanced neuroimaging methods. We hope that the knowledge gained from this work will assist in earlier and more specific diagnosis, as well as better monitoring of change over time. Both of these goals should assist in the development and monitoring of treatments, including both drug treatments and speech and language therapy.

The MGH Primary Progressive Aphasia Clinical Research Program is a multidisciplinary program pursuing research and clinical care of patients with PPA. The program is an active ongoing collaboration between members of the departments of neurology, speech pathology, radiology, social work, and psychiatry. If you are interested in participating, we are happy to discuss the program at any time.

Feel free to contact us for for information (

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Last modified 2008-11-19
Opportunities to participate
We are always happy to discuss our research with people who would like to participate, be they volunteers for scanning, donors, students, post-docs, or collaborators. See 'How to participate' above for more details.