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2011 Grants - Mudar
Neural Markers of Subjective Cognitive Impairment
Raksha Mudar, Ph.D.
The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2011 New Investigator Research Grant
Numerous studies have found evidence that the pathological changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease begin years before the disease can be diagnosed by current methods. If better ways were available to detect disease at these early stages, it may be possible to take steps to slow or prevent disease progression.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a condition that sometimes precedes dementia which can be detected and diagnosed by established neurologic tests. One form of MCI, amnestic MCI, is also associated with specific changes in brain activity, which can be measured by a brain imaging technique that measures signals known as event-related potentials.
Raksha Anand, Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed to study event-related potentials in persons who have not been diagnosed with amnestic MCI, but who may have very early symptoms of memory impairment. The researchers plan to study 20 individuals who have been reported by a friend or family member to have impaired memory. They will compare event-related potentials recorded from the brains of these individuals to those recorded from brains of persons known to have amnestic MCI, and from persons known to have normal cognitive function.
Dr. Anand and colleagues will analyze the recorded data to determine if persons with reported memory impairment exhibit event-related potentials that resemble those of persons with amnestic MCI. This study may help to identify measurable characteristics of brain function in persons with very early memory deficits, and potentially identify those at high risk of subsequent MCI or dementia. The results of this study will be valuable for researchers developing treatments to prevent cognitive decline during aging.