Dr Peter Garrard's primary research interest is in the early language changes associated with neurodegenerative dementias (such as Alzheimer's diease and frontotemporal dementia), and neuropsychiatric conditions.
He is particularly interested in the application of computational neurolinguistic approaches, and in retrospective studies focusing on the emergence of disease signatures in large longitudinal samples (corpus linguistics).
His studies of language change in pre-symptomatic archived samples of writing and speech in creative writing and political discourse have received worldwide media attention and attracted major grant funding awards from the MRC. Notable subjects have included King George III, the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch, and the politicians Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
Analysis of a corpus of diary writing spanning the sixth to ninth decades of life, donated by individuals with a variety of cognitive histories (including late onset Alzheimer's disease and healthy ageing) is currently in progress.
Dr Garrard took up his current position at St George's in March 2010. In 2007, following six years at UCL, he was offered a senior academic position at the University of Southampton's School of Medicine. Since moving to St George's he has established a specialist service for the assessment, diagnosis and management of people with atypical dementia syndromes.
Many of the patients seen in his clinic are recruited into neuroimaging projects aimed at improving diagnosis and monitoring of dementia, understanding the biological basis of progressive cognitive dysfunction (particularly language), and contributing to the development of effective disease modifying treatments.
Dr Garrard's first appointment as a consultant neurologist was at the National Hospital, Queen Square, where he followed up his doctoral research as MRC Clinician Scientist Fellow at the Institute of Neurology. He completed studies on semantic organisation and temporal lobe imaging in patients with semantic dementia (loss of memory for word meaning and concept knowledge).
Dr Garrard is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Kings Oak Hospital, Enfield.
He provides medico-legal neurology expertise in the areas of negligence, mental capacity, and head injury. He also sits on the scientific advisory committes of the Deaf with Dementia Project (funded by the Alzheimer’s Society) and the Daedalus Trust (a charity to promote research into organisational learning and ‘Hubris syndrome’ in politics and the workplace).
Garrard P, Haigh A-M, de Jager CA. Techniques for transcribers: assessing and improving consistency in transcripts of spoken language. Literary and Linguistic Computing (in press).
Garrard, P, Forsyth, R. Abnormal discourse in semantic dementia: A data-driven approach Neurocase 2010;16:520-528
Garrard, P. Literature, history and biology: the uses of retrospective language analysis. The Psychologist 2010;23: 262-263.
Garrard, P, Stephenson, JBP, Ganesan, V, Peters, TJ. Attenuated variants of Lesch-Nyhan disease: the case of King James VI/I. Brain 2010;133:e153 .
Garrard, P. Cognitive Archaeology: methods, uses and results. Journal of Neurolinguistics 2009; 22: 250-265.
Garrard, P, Carroll, E. Lost in semantic space: a multi-modal, non-verbal assessment of feature knowledge in semantic dementia. Brain 2006; 129: 1152-1163.
Garrard P, Maloney LM, Hodges JR, Patterson K. The effects of very early Alzheimer's disease on the characteristics of writing by a renowned author. Brain 2005;128: 250-260.
Prof Hugh Markus: Stroke and Dementia Research Centre, St George's. University of London
Prof Matthew Lambon Ralph: Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit (NARU), University of Manchester, UK.
Investigating temporal lobe dysfunction in patients with CADASIL
Dr Atticus Hainsworth: Stroke and Dementia Research Centre, SGUL. Neurobiology of vascular cognitive impairment
Dr Celeste de Jager: The Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) – John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. Cognitive Archaeology: detecting and measuring the presymptomatic phase of neurodegenerative dementa.
Dr Anna Barney: Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), University of Southampton, UK. Perseverometry: developing and testing a novel device for monitoring repetitive speech patterns in patients with episodic memory disorders.
Dr Marilu Gorno-Tempini: UCSF Memory and Ageing Center, San Francisco, CA, USA
Dr Stephen Wilson: Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. Using a novel algorithm rapidly to analyse connected speech, coupled with structural imaging in a sample of semantic dementia patients from the USA.
Prof Timothy Peters: Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham, UK
Dr Brita Elvevag: NIMH/NIH Bethesda, MD, USA. Using textual analysis algorithms such as latent semantic analysis to detect and measure changes in the language of King George III and other historical figures.