The research focus of Tanis J. Ferman, Ph.D., emphasizes Lewy body dementia, with the primary goals of improving diagnostic accuracy, distinguishing Lewy body dementia from other forms of neurodegenerative disease, developing tools to track symptoms over time, determining the clinical and cognitive correlates of Lewy body dementia in relation to imaging markers, and improving understanding of the underlying pathologic mechanisms.
- Early diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. Dr. Ferman is working to improve physicians' ability to diagnose Lewy body dementia very early on, with a focus on clarifying the role of early neurocognitive difficulties, assessing the contribution of REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness as early clinical markers, improving the ability to recognize and identify fluctuations, and understanding the psychiatric and motor features of the disease.
- Neuropathology of Lewy body disease. Another research focus is geared toward understanding and predicting the disease trajectory and how this relates to clinical features and markers from neuroimaging during life and to neuropathologic findings on autopsy.
Significance to patient care
Early identification of Lewy body dementia and the prediction of treatment trajectory is critical to facilitate proper treatment, to avoid iatrogenic complications, and to help families, patients and treatment providers understand the multiple facets of this condition. Early detection of Lewy body dementia also helps provide a useful therapeutic window for new therapies.