Structural neuroanatomy of face processing in frontotemporal lobar degeneration

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Impairments of face processing occur frequently in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) but the neuroanatomical basis for these deficits has seldom been studied systematically. Here a prospective voxel based morphometry study is described addressing the neuroanatomy of two key dimensions of face processing—face identification and facial emotion recognition—in a single cohort of 32 patients with FTLD (19 with frontal variant and 13 with temporal variant FTLD). For the FTLD group as a whole, face identification was positively associated with grey matter in the right anterior fusiform gyrus while recognition of angry expressions was positively associated with grey matter in the bilateral insula cortex. FTLD provides a perspective on the neuroanatomy of face processing that is complementary to focal lesion and normal functional imaging work.

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