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Language as a biomarker in dementia
  1. Peter Garrard
  1. Professor of Neurology at St George’s University of London, UK


Professor Peter Garrard is an expert consultant neurologist and active clinician scientist in London, with a focus on linguistic profiles of disorders of the nervous system. He has more than 25 years of clinical experience, including 15 years as an accredited specialist in neurology. His specialist interests include neurological disorders, cognitive disorders, progressive language disorders, frontotemporal dementia, and early-onset dementia.

In 1990, Professor Garrard received his primary medical qualification from the University of Bristol and subsequently undertook his higher medical training in Edinburgh for surgery and Yeovil for medicine. Once in London, he completed his general medical training before taking on specialist training in neurology in 2000. During this time, Professor Garrard completed his PhD at Cambridge University on language abnormalities in Alzheimer’s and other dementias as a Medical Research Council clinical training fellow.

Professor Garrard has completed extensive neuroscience research, and currently holds the position of Professor of Neurology at St George’s University of London, where his primary research interest is in the early language changes associated with neurodegenerative dementians, such as Alzheimer’s. He is deputy director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute at St George’s, and also leads an active dementia research laboratory. Additionally, Professor Garrard has continuously taken on educational roles in his field since becoming a member of the General Medical Council.

Abstract In this talk I will briefly review the origins and development of the idea that the neurodegenerative dementias may have a presymptomatic signature detectable in spontaneous speech, and the implications of the diagnostic potential that this idea may hold. I will move on to discussing the special case of neurodegenerative syndromes that selectively impair language (the primary progressive aphasias), and describe the principles by which clinical information relevant to these conditions can be obtained using the newly developed mini linguistic state examination (MLSE). Finally, the diagnostic properties of the MLSE and its further development will be discussed.

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