Genetic Analysis of Alzheimer’s Disease with Psychosis
Kodavali V. Chowdari, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
2003 New Investigator Research Grant
Although the best-known effect of Alzheimer’s disease is its impact on memory, the disease also affects thinking, reasoning, and judgment. In some cases, it leads to psychosis, a profound disruption in an individual’s ability to perceive and interpret events that often involves hallucinations and delusions. Developing psychosis can increase the severity of cognitive decline and other symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s.
These researchers believe that there may be a gene that increases risk of developing psychosis as a complication of Alzheimer’s disease. In previous work, the group has identified several regions of specific chromosomes as likely locations for the gene. In this project, the team will conduct detailed exploration of a region on chromosome 6 that is the most promising candidate location. The work will use Alzheimer brain tissue samples obtained from another project supported by the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, a network of focal points for dementia research at major medical institutions nationwide funded by the National Institute on Aging. Insights gained in this project may shed light on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease with psychosis as well as general processes at work in the Alzheimer brain. Identification of an additional Alzheimer gene also paves the way for production of an improved animal model of the disease.