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2012 Grants - Rabinovici
Imaging and CSF Biomarkers in the Diagnosis of Early-Onset Dementia
Gil Rabinovici, M.D.
University of California at San Francisco
San Francisco, California
2012 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
In recent years, researchers have made progress using brain imaging to detect features of Alzheimer's disease in the brain of living people. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the brain is being considered as a way to detect amyloid plaque in the brain, one of the characteristic features of the disease. This method uses a dye, AV-45, to label amyloid plaque, which is then visualized using PET imaging.
Researchers have also made progress measuring molecules related to Alzheimer's disease in the fluid that surrounds the brain, known as the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These biomarkers may eventually be used to diagnose the disease. One of the greatest challenges for both imaging and biomarker tests is to distinguish between Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, such as frontotemporal dementia.
Gil Rabinovic, M.D., and colleagues have proposed a study to assess use of CSF biomarkers and PET brain imaging to distinguish between early- onset Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. Early-onset Alzheimer's disease occurs before age 65 and is difficult to distinguish from frontotemporal dementia. The researchers plan to enroll 40 people with either early-onset Alzheimer's disease or frontotemporal dementia and perform brain imaging and measurements of CSF biomarkers. The researchers will assess how each technique improves the accuracy and reliability of diagnosis, as well as the ability to distinguish between Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. These studies will provide valuable information about the reliability of PET brain imaging and CSF biomarkers for the diagnosis of dementia in people younger than 65 years.