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2021 Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders (GBHI)

Microstructural changes in Primary Progressive Aphasia

Ignacio Illán-Gala, Ph.D
Institut Recerca de L'Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau
Barcelona, Spain

Individuals with the neurological syndrome Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) exhibit symptoms characterized by deterioration of brain tissue important for speech and language. Studies show that PPA is usually misdiagnosed or may be diagnosed only at an advanced disease stage. To facilitate early diagnosis of PPA, Dr. Ignacio Illan-Gala will leverage existing brain scan datasets from different clinical centers including the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center (UCSF MAC) and the Catalan Frontotemporal Dementia Neuroimaging Initiative in Barcelona (Hospital Clinic and Sant Pau Hospital), Spain. Using sophisticated statistical techniques, Dr. Illan-Gala will analyze brain scans from 130 individuals with PPA and 60 cognitively unimpaired individuals. Based on the analysis, Dr. Illan-Gala will study changes in brain structure, which may reveal early damage to certain brain areas in PPA. If successful, this study could be useful in predicting brain changes associated with PPA and could help with early diagnosis of PPA.

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