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2009 Grants - Glodzik
Perfusion Abnormalities in Healthy Subjects at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease
Lidia Glodzik, M.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
2009 New Investigator Research Grant
Although the clinical consequences of Alzheimer's disease have been described in detail, changes in the brain that occur in early stages of the disease are still being identified. There is some evidence that early disease may be associated with changes in blood flow, but the characteristics of this change are not well understood. Furthermore, it is not known whether declines in blood flow contribute to further disease progression.
Lidia Glodzik, M.D. and colleagues have begun to study changes in brain blood flow in healthy persons at risk for Alzheimer's disease. They have identified individuals at increased risk by measuring modifications in the protein tau in the cerebrospinal fluid. Such modifications can be an early sign of later formation of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, a characteristic feature of Alzheimer pathology. In preliminary studies, Dr. Glodzik's team used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal that persons at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease have reduce blood flow in a region of the brain known as the hippocampus. This region is especially vulnerable to damage in persons with Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Glodzik and colleagues plan to conduct more extensive studies of high-risk individuals to determine if they have reduced blood flow that is specific to the hippocampus. They also plan to study whether vascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, are associated with additional declines in brain blood flow. These studies could provide important information about the links between identified risk factors for the disease and the biological mechanisms of neurodegeneration.