Nikki Janssen's successful promotion
Most people do not go a day without speaking. However, for people with primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a rare but debilitating form of dementia, being able to speak effortlessly is no longer a given. The specific abnormalities in the brain that play a role in this are not known as of yet. This is especially true for the underlying white matter tracts – connections between different parts of our brain. Nikki Janssen examined the relationship between the problems with speech and the quality of these connections in the brain. From a basic scientific perspective, the largest white matter tracts (dorsal and ventral white matter tracts) are both important for language production, as part of a complex network of brain regions. From a clinical point of view, conducting experimental tests and language tests based on theory has proved feasible and valuable in improving the diagnosis of PPA.