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2009 Grants - Mosconi
Maternal History of Alzheimer Predisposes Children to Brain Hypometabolism
Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
2009 New Investigator Research Grant
One of the risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's disease is having a first-degree relative with the disease. Furthermore, current evidence indicates that having a mother with Alzheimer's disease is a stronger risk factor than having a father with the disease. Unlike early-onset disease, however, the mechanisms by which family history affects a person's risk of late-onset disease are not well understood.
Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D. and colleagues are studying brain function in healthy persons with a first-degree family history of Alzheimer's disease. Using positron emission tomography (PET) to image brain function, they have found that metabolic rates are lower in some regions of the brain in healthy persons whose mother had Alzheimer's disease, as compared to those whose father or other first-degree relative had the disease. These findings suggest that late-onset Alzheimer's disease may be associated with genetic changes related to metabolism, some of which are passed to descendents through the mother's genes.
Dr. Mosconi and colleagues are planning to measure brain metabolic rate in healthy children. The goal of this study is to determine if brain metabolic rates are affected by a history of Alzheimer's disease in the children's parents or grandparents. These studies will shed light on the genetic factors associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease, and possibly help refine models used to assess risk in later life.