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2017 Grants - Gazes
NODDI vs. DTI Metrics in Predicting Amyloid and Tau Pathology
Yunglin Gazes, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
2017 Alzheimer's Association Research Grant (AARG)
Can a commonly available diagnostic tool, MRI, replace current imaging methods to detect brain changes in Alzheimer's disease?
In recent years, scientists have made great advances in developing brain imaging methods to detect changes in brain structure associated with Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, the most informative current methods are expensive and require the use of small amounts of radioactive dyes to detect beta-amyloid or tau in the brain. Furthermore, this method is currently available only in certain geographic areas.
Another method for studying brain structure uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is cheaper than current methods and does not require radioactive dyes. However, currently available MRI methods have limited ability to detect signs of Alzheimer's disease, and can do so only in the late stages of disease. Better imaging methods are needed to allow scientists and physicians to detect and monitor signs of disease in the early stages, when early intervention is most likely to be successful.
Dr. Gazes and colleagues plan to obtain DWI-MRI, an advanced type of MRI, images of people who have already had brain imaging performed using current PET imaging methods to look for beta-amyloid and tau. The researchers will then compare two different ways to analyze the DWI-MRI images; these two analysis methods are known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI). The goal of this comparison is to determine which analysis method provides the most useful for detecting brain changes associated with early-stage Alzheimer's. Existing imaging methods will be used as the control method.
This study will begin to determine if MRI methods if DTI or NODDI analysis methods are best suited for measuring Alzheimer's brain changes, producing a more cost effective, less invasive, and commonly available diagnostic for Alzheimer's.