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2008 Grants - Bondi
Functional Neuroanatomy of Memory in Elders: A Combined FMRI and DTI Study
Mark Bondi, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
San Diego, California
2008 Investigator-initiated Research Grant
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are imaging methods that rely on variations of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. fMRI reveals parts of the brain that are highly active. DTI reveals the structure of so-called "white matter" regions of the brain, which are regions that contain mostly nerve fibers and synaptic connections where nerve cells communicate with each other.
Early studies suggest that both fMRI and DTI may be valuable methods for detecting early changes in the brain that may foretell Alzheimer's disease. Mark Bondi, Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed a thorough study of fMRI and DTI in healthy older individuals who are at high risk for Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers plan to recruit eighty individuals for their study who have either mild cognitive impairment, or evidence of a genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease. They will perform noninvasive fMRI and DTI imaging while the individuals perform a cognitive task. The researchers will follow the individuals for 3 years to determine how their brain function and white matter structures change during that time. An important focus of the study is to determine if white matter degeneration is accompanied by changes in the parts of the brain activated by a cognitive task.
These studies may provide important clues about how brain function changes during Alzheimer's disease, and they may lead to valuable new tools for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease at very early stages.