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2006 Grant - Libon
The Effect of Leukoaraiosis in Alzheimer's Disease
David J. Libon, Ph.D.
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
School of Osteopathic Medicine
Stratford, New Jersey
2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Leukoaraiosis is a term describing an abnormal area of white matter observed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that is associated with some functional impairments. Studies have shown that it is a feature of the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease. Currently, it is not known how different amounts or different locations of leukoaraiosis in the brain correspond to the neurological deficits seen in people with the disease-deficits such as memory impairments or problems performing normal activities of daily living.
David J. Libon, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to study how the volume and location of leukoaraiosis correspond to functional disabilities in people with Alzheimer's disease. They will use a computer-based analysis system to measure the amount of leukoaraiosis seen on MRI scans of the brains and record the locations of each abnormal area.
To assess how the disease has affected each participant's brain function, the researchers will use a system called the Naturalistic Action Test, which involves videotaping each person as he or she performs typical but important tasks of normal life. Each person's ability to perform specific tasks will then be scored. The researchers will then use statistical methods to look for relationships between leukoaraiosis and functional deficits.
The researchers expect that leukoaraiosis in specific brain regions will be related to specific functional deficits, such as the inability to perform specific tasks, loss of memory or language difficulties. These studies may also help to determine whether some Alzheimer medications may be more beneficial for patients with leukoaraiosis in certain parts of the brain.