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2011 Grants - Sepulcre
Brain Hubs of Amyloid Deposition in Preclinical Stages of Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type (DAT)
Jorge Sepulcre, M.D., Ph.D.,
Massachusetts General Hospital
2011 New Investigator Research Grant
The biological processes involved in normal brain functions — such as learning and memory — typically connect various brain regions where high concentrations of activity take place. These regions are often called hubs. In recent years, scientists have begun studying how such hubs are interconnected and how they might be used to facilitate the abnormal processes of brain disease.
For this grant, Jorge Sepulcre, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues will be analyzing the role of hubs in Alzheimer's disease, a disorder also known as dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT). Specifically, the researchers will be using a novel brain imaging technique called 11C-labeled Pittsburgh compound-B positron emission tomography (11C-PIB-PET) to analyze the brains of elderly people at risk for Alzheimer's. Their analysis will involve characterizing how hub regions may interact to promote the accumulation of beta-amyloid, a protein fragment that is a key suspect in Alzheimer's disease. Such research could lead to a better understanding of how Alzheimer's pathology originates and spreads throughout the brain. It could also clarify which brain regions are most actively involved in the disease and ilead to targeted disease therapies.