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2012 Grants - Whitwell
Amyloid-Related Imaging Abnormalities (Microbleeds) in Atypical Alzheimer's Disease
Jennifer L. Whitwell, Ph.D.
2012 New Investigator Research Grant
Most individuals who have Alzheimer's disease experience memory loss as one of the early symptoms. On brain imaging, as many as one-third of these individuals have evidence of small bleeding events from blood vessels in the brain (microbleeds). These events are thought to be caused by amyloid plaques in the blood vessels.
Although less than half of all individuals, a substantial percentage of people who have Alzheimer's disease do not experience early memory loss, but have other symptoms such as problems with language. These people are considered to have atypical Alzheimer's disease. The occurrence of microbleeds in people with atypical Alzheimer's disease has not been studied.
Jennifer L. Whitwell, Ph.D., and colleagues have identified three people who have atypical Alzheimer's disease and also have microbleeds. However, they do not know what percentage of atypical patients have microbleeds. Dr. Whitwell has proposed to address this question in 40 people who have been diagnosed with atypical Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers will also study whether microbleeds are associated with levels of cognitive decline, amounts of amyloid plaque in the brain, or other structural changes in the brain. These studies will be performed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain to detect microbleeds and other structural abnormalities, as well as positron emission tomography to detect amyloid plaques. These studies will help determine what causes microbleeds and what their implications are for people with both typical and atypical Alzheimer's disease.