Changements vasculaires et facteurs de protection associés au stade préclinique de la maladie d'Alzheimer


Alexa Pichet Binette   

Institut universitaire en santé mentale Douglas


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme : Formation de doctorat

Concours 2016-2017


Société Alzheimer du Canada

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia, affecting more than 15% of the Canadian population aged of 65 years and older. The direct and indirect costs associated with AD sum up to 33 billions dollars annually. Unless new treatments are developed to delay the onset of AD, these numbers will double by 2031. Understanding risk and protective factors that affect early brain changes before cognitive symptoms appear is crucial for the development of new therapeutic interventions. Many studies have shown the association between vascular impairments and the progression of AD pathology. Given this, we want to study vascular brain changes using a newly optimized magnetic resonance imaging technique, functional O2 imaging, in a cohort of older adults at high risk of AD. In parallel, we will evaluate risk and protective factors that might have an impact on vascular and AD pathologies, such as physical activity, diet, and depressive symptoms.

The participants included in this study are elderly enrolled in the Prevent-AD study at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. The study also includes main markers of AD, such as the level of amyloid-beta protein, brain volume and cortical thickness. Our main hypothesis is that lower blood flow and oxygen consumption will be related with markers of AD pathology (amyloid accumulation and atrophy in brain regions vulnerable to AD) and that the relationships might be modulated by sex and/or lifestyle factors (eg. physical activity and diet). Studying early vascular changes in the brain could help identify new biomarkers that contribute to the progression of AD. Also, studying early changes in relationship with lifestyle factors is important to identify non-pharmacological interventions easily implementable to postpone the onset of AD.