To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.
2016 Grants - La Joie
Multimodal Imaging of Neurodegeneration Processes and Their Propagation
Renaud Charles Marcel La Joie, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, California
2016 Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship (AARF)
Can brain imaging techniques help promote more accurate detection and diagnosis of different types of dementia?
In recent years, scientists have made significant advances in brain imaging techniques. The development of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging uses special “tracers” and allows researchers to visualize the accumulation of harmful proteins in the brain in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Beta-amyloid accumulates into “plaques” and abnormal tau protein into “tangles.” While amyloid plaques and tau tangles are two characteristic features of Alzheimer’s disease, they can also occur in other brain diseases. Identifying differences in how these proteins accumulate in the brain across time could help explain the clinical symptoms associated with each disease and promote more accurate detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
Renaud La Joie, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed a brain imaging study to explore the patterns of beta-amyloid and tau accumulation in both male and female individuals that have early-onset or late-onset forms of Alzheimer’s disease, posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), or primary progressive aphasia (PPA). It is not yet clear if PCA and PPA are distinct syndromes or variants of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers will use positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify the specific regions initially affected in each condition. They will monitor the progression of brain changes across a 12-month time period and determine how they relate to declines in cognitive, visual and language functions.
These studies could shed new light on the location and progression of brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s and related diseases. The results may also lead to improvements in the detection and diagnosis of different brain diseases, as well as better ways to monitor the effectiveness of novel treatments.