Cognitive Neurology


The Cognitive Neurology group investigates neurodegenerative disease and conducts research on the clinical features, causes, diagnosis, and treatments of these diseases.

The Cognitive Neurology group provides consulting services and has developed major research programs. We have established several treatment programs for Alzheimer's disease and have specialized expertise in Pick's disease and focal atrophies. Our research interests include the use of functional MRI to examine affect and behavioral changes in Frontotemporal Dementia, the genetics of dementia, use of MRI for early diagnosis of dementia, and the basic cell biology of neurodegenerative disease.

The group participates in multicenter academic and pharmaceutical company sponsored research. Examples of these include the NIH-sponsored Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), and the major clinical trials from Elan (Bapaneuzimab and Scyllo-insitol) and Myriad (Flurizan).

Our staff consists of two neuropsychometricians, a research assistant, two nurse coordinators for drug trials, and an administrative/regulatory assistant.

Training Opportunities


During scheduled academic half-days, neurology residents will study cognitive neurology topics including:

Core Topics

  • Clinical approach to suspected dementia
  • Clinical approach to aphasia
  • Behavioural neurology examination: apraxia, agnosia, etc.
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Other dementias – FTD, CBD, DLB

Special Topics

  • Neuropathology: the dementias
  • Pathophysiology of the dementias
  • CanMEDs Scholar (Evidence Based Neurology)
  • CanMEDS: Communicator, Health Advocate, Collaborator: Care planning for individuals with dementia
  • CanMEDs Professional:  Bioethics around life-sustaining treatment and the demented

Learn more about CNS Residency programs.

Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Fellowship

Main Contact: Elizabeth Finger - MD

Affiliated Physicians: Drs. Finger and Pasternak

Click here for information about this fellowship.

*** The Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer Research Centre (CNARC) also has periodic openings for clinical fellows and post-doctoral fellows based on current available funding and project needs. We invite interested candidates to submit a letter of interest, CV and transcripts to:

phone: 519-646-6032
fax: 519-646-6226
London Health Sciences Centre
University Hospital
339 Windemere Road
London Ontario Canada
N6A 5A5

Fellowship application information.

Postdoctoral, Graduate, and Undergraduate

CNS offers training opportunities for residents in dementia and cognitive research. Opportunities for MSc, PhD, and Postdoctoral candidates are also available upon request. Recently Dr. Finger has acted as a primary supervisor to a PhD candidate conducting research in the psycholphysiologic correlates of guile and has co-supervised master’s, and postdoctoral candidates on research projects on the early biomarker and imaging detection of frontotemporal dementia; ventromedial PFC function, financial decision making and caregiver strategies in frontotemporal dementia, the delineation of neuroanatomy of empathy in frontotemporal dementia and other disorders; and PET/MRI imaging of neuroinflammation in frontotemporal Dementias. Dr. Pasternak has acted as a primary supervisor to undergraduate students conducting research in APP interaction with Arf6.

Students interested in Master’s or PhD programs can apply through the Graduate Program in Neuroscience (supervisor: Dr. Finger or Dr. Pasternak) or through the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology (supervisor: Dr. Pasternak).

Research Opportunities

If you are interested in conducting research in cognitive neurology and/or dementia or are interested in assisting in ongoing research by our faculty, visit their bio pages for information on their specific research interests and how to get in touch.

For more information on current research initiatives in cognitive neurology, visit the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer Research Centre (CNARC) mini-site.

Recent Cognitive Neurology Publications

Finger E, Zhang J, Dickerson B, Bureau Y, Masellis M; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Disinhibition in Alzheimer's Disease is Associated with Reduced Right Frontal Pole Cortical Thickness. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;60(3):1161-1170. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170348. PubMed PMID: 28984590.

Staudt MD, Pasternak SH, Sharma M, Pandey SK, Arango MF, Pelz DM, Lownie SP. Multilevel, ultra-large-volume epidural blood patch for the treatment of neurocognitive decline associated with spontaneous intracranial hypotension: case report. J Neurosurg. 2017 Oct 6:1-6. doi: 10.3171/2017.5.JNS17249. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28984516

Mackenzie IR, Nicholson AM, Sarkar M, Messing J, Purice MD, Pottier C, Annu K, Baker M, Perkerson RB, Kurti A, Matchett BJ, Mittag T, Temirov J, Hsiung GR, Krieger C, Murray ME, Kato M, Fryer JD, Petrucelli L, Zinman L, Weintraub S, Mesulam M, Keith J, Zivkovic SA, Hirsch-Reinshagen V, Roos RP, Züchner S, Graff-Radford NR, Petersen RC, Caselli RJ, Wszolek ZK, Finger E, Lippa C, Lacomis D, Stewart H, Dickson DW, Kim HJ, Rogaeva E, Bigio E, Boylan KB, Taylor JP, Rademakers R. TIA1 Mutations in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia Promote Phase Separation and Alter Stress Granule Dynamics. Neuron. 2017 Aug 16;95(4):808-816.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.07.025. PubMed PMID: 28817800.

Premi E, Grassi M, van Swieten J, Galimberti D, Graff C, Masellis M, Tartaglia C, Tagliavini F, Rowe JB, Laforce R Jr, Finger E, Frisoni GB, de Mendonça A, Sorbi S, Gazzina S, Cosseddu M, Archetti S, Gasparotti R, Manes M, Alberici A, Cardoso MJ, Bocchetta M, Cash DM, Ourselin S, Padovani A, Rohrer JD, Borroni B; Cognitive reserve and TMEM106B genotype modulate brain damage in presymptomatic frontotemporal dementia: a GENFI study. Genetic FTD Initiative (GENFI). Brain. 2017 Jun 1;140(6):1784-1791. doi: 10.1093/brain/awx103. PMID: 28460069

Coleman KK, Coleman BL, MacKinley JD, Pasternak SH, Finger EC. Association between Montreal Cognitive Assessment Sub-Item Scores and Corresponding Cognitive Test Performance in Patients with Frontotemporal Dementia and Related Disorders. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2017;43(3-4):170-179. doi: 10.1159/000457119. Epub 2017 Feb 16. PMID: 28199994

 Finger EC. Increased heart rate and energy expenditure in frontotemporal dementia. Brain. 2017 Jan;140(Pt 1):10-12. doi: 10.1093/brain/aww312. No abstract available. PMID: 28031218