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Research Grants 2007


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2007 Grant - Rabinovici

Amyloid PET Imaging in the Differential Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

Gil Dan Rabinovici, M.D.
University of California
San Francisco, California

2007 New Investigator Research Grant

Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration are two distinct forms of brain degeneration, and several other degenerative conditions have been described that affect the brain. Although different degenerative diseases often have unique and characteristic features, it can be difficult to distinguish one disease from another on the basis of commonly used clinical criteria. As treatments are developed for the different degenerative disorders, it becomes increasingly important for treating physicians to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Gil Dan Rabinovici, M.D., and colleagues plan to study the ability of positron emission tomography (PET) to distinguish between Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. From studies of the brains of people who have died of either disease, it is known that the diseases differ in terms of the roles of beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid, a protein fragment that accumulates in the brain and forms amyloid plaques, is known to be a characteristic feature of Alzheimer pathology. But people with frontotemporal lobar degeneration do not show accumulations of beta-amyloid.

Dr. Rabinovici and colleagues will use a specific tracer dye that allows them to visualize beta-amyloid in brain scans. They will study how well this technique is able to distinguish between people with Alzheimer's disease and those with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. These studies may provide a reliable and accurate way to distinguish different degenerative disorders, potentially allowing treatments to be tailored for the appropriate disorder in each person.