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Research Grants - 2009


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Research Grants 2009


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

2009 Grants - Park

Amyloid Deposition, Aging, and Neurocognitive Function

Denise Cortis Park, Ph.D.
University of Texas at Dallas
Dallas, Texas

2009 New Investigator Research Grant

Amyloid plaques are considered to be a characteristic feature of Alzheimer pathology, and a possible cause of neurodegeneration. However, several studies have found that some older individuals with normal brain function also have widespread amyloid plaques. Thus, there is not a straightforward relationship between the amount of amyloid plaque in the brain and brain function.

Denise Cortis Park, Ph.D. and colleagues are studying the deposition of amyloid plaque in the brain and how it relates to cognitive function. The goal of their proposed research is to quantify amyloid plaque deposition in healthy older individuals with normal brain function, in individuals with Alzheimer's disease, and in individuals with an intermediate condition known as mild Cognitive impairment (MCI).

The researchers plan to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a specific dye that allows them to visualize amyloid plaque in the living brain. They will perform imaging in 100 healthy individuals between the ages of 50 and 89. In addition, the researchers will perform another type of imaging known as positron emission tomography, which allows them to visualize aspects of brain function and activity. The individuals participating in these imaging studies have already participated in a larger study assessing their cognitive function.

By combining results of the two imaging methods with information about each person's cognitive function, the researchers plan to analyze how amyloid deposition relates to brain function and cognitive function during aging. They also plan to follow the same individuals four years later to determine if amyloid deposition affects later cognitive function. This study will help to define the pathologic role of amyloid plaque during aging and the development of Alzheimer's disease.