SURF

Baber Khan

Psychiatric Misdiagnosis of Patients with Neurodegenerative Disease

Frontotemporal Dementia patients suffer behavioral disturbances which mimic primary psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Unfortunately, awareness of this neurodegenerative disease is limited in the psychiatric world and often demented patients are misdiagnosed. The Memory and Aging Center (MAC) at the University of California San Francisco conducts one of the largest investigations into the frontal variant dementias in the nation. I plan to systematically review 450 patients research charts at the MAC in order to precisely quantify the rate of psychiatric misdiagnosis for each of the dementia subtypes. This quantification has the potential to reduce psychiatric misdiagnosis and promote better patient care.

Message to Sponsor

This study presents a unique and exciting opportunity for me to make a difference in the psychiatric and neurobiological world. From personal experience I know the difficulties a misdiagnosis of dementia can have on families and caregivers of patients. When a patient is misdiagnosed the family is forced to suffer and watch as treatment after treatment fails to make any difference. My investigation has the potential to reduce this problem and better help families cope with the changes afflicting the patient. This means a lot to me because even if I am able to help just one family, that is one less family who has to suffer the burden of uncertainty about their loved ones illness.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Richard Ivry, Psychology