Mario F. Mendez, M.D. Ph.D.
Jill Shapira, RN, Ph.D.
Edmond Teng, M.D., Ph.D.

Neurobehavior Staff:
For Appointments:
Jill Shapira
Phone: 310-794-2550
Fax: 310-794-0540
or Email:
Mail records to:
Jill Shapira, RN, PhD.
300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Ste. B200
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Additional Information:
Dr. Mendez
Phone: 310-478-3711 #42696
VA Greater LA Neurobehavior Office


The Referral Program for Frontotemporal Lobar Degenerations and Progressive Focal Behavioral or Cognitive Disorders

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) or Pick's Disease

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and other focal dementias are an important group of brain disorders that result in behavioral, cognitive, or language changes. Although far less is known about FTD than about Alzheimer's disease, research during the last ten years has greatly increased our understanding of these disorders. Researchers at UCLA and elsewhere continue to make new discoveries about Frototemporal Dementia, formerly known as Pick's disease, and other brain-behavior syndromes.

Symptoms of FTD (Pick's Disease) include:
  • Change in personality
  • Lack of interest for usual activities or family and friends
  • Socially embarrassing behavior
  • Unusual Compulsive or Rigid Behavior
  • Unusual Eating Behavior
  • Difficulty with Speaking and Finding or Understanding Words

Other Neurobehavioral Disorders

  1. Primary Progressive Aphasia and Semantic Dementia- speaking and word finding problems
  2. Posterior Cortical Atrophy- seeing and reading problems
  3. Corticobasal Degeneration and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy- Problems with movement or motor coordination of arms or eyes
  4. Any other progressive problem with cognition, reading, writing, spatial abilities, reasoning, judgment or mathematics

UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic

The UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic specializes in the diagnosis and management of FTD and other Neurobehavioral Disorders. In addition to typical FTD, the clinic evaluates all focal brain degenerations associated with dementia. Criteria for patient referral include:

  • Presence of a change in behavior or thinking with a strong suspicion of an underlying non-acute brain degeneration.
  • Prior medical evaluationssent to Jill Shapira, NP for review, prior to the patient's visit.

UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic evaluation:

  • The process is usually completed in two visits with scheduled tests in-between the two appointments.
  • The evaluation may include a neuropsychological assessment, functional brain imaging, and specialized behavioral testing. (In addition, neurogenetic assessment is available)
  • Provides referring clinicians consultations on these focal dementia syndromes.
  • The clinic sends referring clinicians a summary consultation report upon completion of the evaluation.
  • This consultation can provide the patient's physician with medication and behavioral management strategies.
  • Education and counseling is also provided to patients, families, and caregivers.
  • Alternatively, if preferred, the patient can be managed through the UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic.

UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic and Research

In addition to consultation and patient care, the UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic is involved in much-needed research on these neurological conditions. Potential research participation is available in studies exploring the behavioral, cognitive, neuroimaging, and genetic aspects of these disorders. Ongoing studies include developing clinical trials wtih memantine, lithium, and other medications as well as basic studies in interpersonal behavioral interactions, psychophysiology, biomarkers, and neuroimaging aspects of these disorders.

Select Publications:
Mendez MF, Licht EA, Shapira JS. Changes in dietary or eating behavior in frontotemporal dementia vs. Alzheimer's disease. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Dem 2008 Jan 15; [Epub ahead of print].

Mendez MF, Shapira JS, Woods RJ, Licht EA, Saul RE. Psychotic symptoms in frontotemporal dementia: prevalence and review. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2008;25:206-211.

Mendez MF, Lauterbach EC, Sampson SM; Committee on Research. An Evidence-Based Review of the Psychopathology of Frontotemporal Dementia: A Report of the ANPA Committee on Research. Clin Neurosci 2008;20:130-149.

Mendez MF, Cummings JL. Dementia: A Clinical Approach, Third Edition. Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier), Philadelphia, PA, 2003 (ISBN: 0750674709).

Clark DL, Boutros NN, Mendez MF. The Brain and Behavior: An Introduction to Behavioral Neuroanatomy, Second Edition. Blackwell Science, Malden MA, 2005. Mendez MF. Frontotemporal Dementia: Therapeutic Interventions. In Giannakopoulos P and Hof P (eds), Dementia in Clinical Care. Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience. Karger, Basel, Switzerland.

UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinicians & Support Staff

Mario F. Mendez, MD, PhD- Behavioral and cognitive neurologist and UCLA Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry.

Jill Shapira, RN, PhD- Nurse Practitioner specializing in dementia care with over 20 years of experience in managing dementia and educating caregivers.

Sarah Kremen, MD, Po Tsai, MD and Andrew Fras, MD- Neurologists studying under Dr. Mendez in the Neurobehavior Fellowship Program.

Po Lu, PsychD- Neuropsychologist

Elvira Jimenez, MPH- Senior Staff Research Associate

Lorena Monserrat, MA- Research Associate

Dana Irshay- Research Associate

Michelle Mather- Research Associate

In addition, as part of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center, the UCLA Behavioral Neurology Clinic has available the resources of a large group of affiliated clinicians and investigators, including psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, neuroimagers, speech pathologists, and geneticists.

Contact Us

Appointments to the clinic are made by calling Jill Shapira, R.N., PhD at 310.794.2550, emailing jshapira@mednet.ucla.edu, or faxing her the medical information at 310.794.0540. Additional information may be obtained through Dr. Mendez 310.478.3711, ext. 42696 (VA Greater LA Neurobehavior Office).

To properly view this page, JavaScript must be turned on.