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2008 Grants - Van Der Lugt
Arterial Calcifications and Risk of Dementia
Aad Van Der Lugt, Ph.D.
Erasmus Medical College
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia are considered the most common sub-types of dementia. Many researchers believe that the two disease types are closely linked. Improved computed tomography (CT) imaging techniques are enabling scientists to better detect blood vessel damage in the brain and other parts of the body. Such improvements could provide a means of identifying more accurately an individual's risk for dementia.
Aad Van Der Lugt, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to investigate the relationships between arterial disease and dementia risk. For this effort, they will gather information from a long-term study of about 2,000 older individuals. These individuals were free of dementia at the beginning of the study. Each participant received CT scans of the heart and various arteries. About 1,000 of them also received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans. In addition, participants were administered extensive cognitive tests.
Dr. Van Der Lugt's team will first use the scans to detect arterial diseases and brain diseases in these participants. They then plan to determine any relationships between 1) blood vessel disease and cognitive decline and 2) blood vessel disease and physical brain disorders. The results of this effort could provide a novel way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.