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REVISED: NYNG 2021 Frank L. LeFever Spring Conference / "Think Zebras, Not Horses: Novel Approaches to Studying Atypical Neuropsychological Disorders"/ Margaret O'Connor, PhD, ABPP & Naomi Nevler, MD

  • 20 May 2021
  • 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Zoom link to be distributed to registrants prior to meeting

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Please note speaker change below

NYNG 2021 Frank L. LeFever Spring Conference

"Think Zebras, Not Horses: Novel Approaches to Studying Atypical Neuropsychological Disorders"

Thursday May 20, 2021, 4-6 PM

Admission is free for NYNG members and $20 for non-members

Zoom Link to Follow

“Single Case Studies: What Patients Teach Us About Theories of the Mind”


Margaret O’Connor, PhD, ABPP

Associate Professor of Neurology

Harvard Medical School

Single case studies provide a unique opportunity to examine unusual neuropsychological syndromes. In this talk, Dr. O’Connor will review her studies on five patients who had different types of memory impairment, including circumscribed dense amnesia, a dissociation between anterograde and retrograde memory, confabulation, delusional misidentification syndrome, and epilepsy-related accelerated forgetting. She will discuss the neural substrates and cognitive features of each patient’s presentation. These case studies will be reviewed in relation to antecedent models of amnesia, and their relevance for more recent neuroscientific studies will be discussed.


“What’s in a Word?:  Acoustic and Lexical Characteristics of Primary Progressive Aphasia and Behavioral Variant FTD”

Naomi Nevler, MD*

*Due to an unavoidable, last minute scheduling conflict, Dr. Murray Grossman will be unable to present at this year’s conference and has selected his colleague Dr. Naomi Nevler to present on his behalf.

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Director, Penn FTD Center

It has been 10 years since our research group published clinical research criteria for primary progressive aphasia (PPA), and that publication has been among the most highly cited articles in Neurology. The criteria were based on relatively informal clinical impressions. While they have largely stood the test of time, follow-up studies have shown that there is considerable variability in applying these criteria, and validation has been elusive. In this presentation, clinical characteristics of PPA will be reviewed, and an update using an automated natural language processing algorithm will be provided. Acoustic and lexical features of digitized, semi-structured speech samples that differentiate non-fluent/agrammatic PPA from semantic variant PPA, distinguish linguistic components from motor components of speech will be described, and the speech features that decline longitudinally in these patients will be examined. Validation data using neuroimaging, cerebrospinal fluid analytes, and direct correlations of antemortem speech with findings at autopsy will be provided. Finally, our automated approach will be extended to patients without an obvious aphasia – to patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. This automated, highly reliable, and validated approach to speech opens new vistas of opportunity for neuropsychologists.


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