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2013 Grants - Ances
Resting State Network Signature of Alzheimer's Disease
Beau M. Ances, M.D. Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
2013 New Investigator Research Grant
A major goal of Alzheimer's research is the development of ways to accurately detect the disease in its earliest stages, before substantial brain damage occurs. One promising approach is the use of imaging to visualize brain structure or amyloid plaques, one of the characteristic features of the disease. Brain scans using a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be used to visualize how signals from one part of the brain spread to other parts, forming what are called functional brain networks.
Beau M. Ances, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed to use MRI to visualize functional networks in people at high risk for Alzheimer's disease to determine how that risk affects the activity of their brain networks. They plan to perform these imaging studies while the brain is "at rest," meaning the participants will not be given any particular brain stimulus, such as an image or spoken prompt. Dr. Ances and colleagues will characterize functional networks in the brain and determine how they change in people at high risk for Alzheimer's disease. They will also measure chemical markers of risk in each person's cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that surrounds nerve cells in the brain and spinal column. This will allow the researchers to study how functional networks change as markers of disease increase. These studies may lead to the development of new and sensitive ways to detect the early stages of Alzheimer's disease using brain imaging.