Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Release of creativity by frontotemporal dementia
An article by Sandra Blakeslee describes FTD, or frontotemporal dementia, through which some patients have become gifted in landscape design, piano playing, painting and other creative arts as their disease progressed. The composer Ravel composed “Bolero” in 1928, when he was 53 and began showing signs of this illness with spelling errors in musical scores and letters. The structure and repetition of this musical piece is mirrored by the graphic shown here, an image of a migraine by Anne Adams,a bench scientist with FTD who became drawn to structure and repetition. Enhanced artistic abilities arise when frontal brain areas decline and posterior regions take over. Injury or disintegration of dominant inhibitory frontal cricuits appears to release or disinhibit activity in other areas. The result of compromising one part of the brain can be to induce other parts to remodel and become stronger.