“The effects of neurodegenerative syndromes extend beyond cognitive function to involve key physiological processes, including eating and metabolism, autonomic nervous system function, sleep, and motor function. Changes in these physiological processes are present in several conditions, including frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer disease and the parkinsonian plus conditions. Key neural structures that mediate physiological changes across these conditions include neuroendocrine and hypothalamic pathways, reward pathways, motor systems and the autonomic nervous system.” In this review, the key changes in physiological processing in neurodegenerative syndromes are highlighted. The authors suggest that changes and similarities between disorders might provide novel insights into the human neural correlates of physiological functioning. These changes may provide biomarkers to aid in the early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and treatment.
Ahmed RM, Ke YD, Vucic S, Ittner LM, Seeley W, Hodges JR, Piguet O, Halliday G, Kiernan MC Physiological changes in neurodegeneration – mechanistic insights and clinical utility. Nature Rev. Neurol. [Epub ahead of print, March 23, 2018; doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2018.23].