Neuroimagerie translationnelle dans la maladie d'Alzheimer

 

Pedro Rosa-Neto

CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Ile-de-Montréal

 

Domaine :  neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers-cliniciens - Senior 

Concours 2017-2018

Alzheimer's disease is the most frequent cause of dementia in aging populations.  Cognitive decline and dementia in Alzheimer's disease runs parallel to progressive depositions of two types of abnormal proteins in the brain called amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.  These abnormal protein depositions begin in restricted brain regions many years before the onset of first symptoms. Brain damage, inflammation, and cognitive impairments follow the spread of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles throughout brain regions. Recently, technological advances allow us to measure levels of brain inflammation as well as abnormal proteins before causing irreversible brain damage.

The goal of this research program is to find signatures of incipient Alzheimer's disease in populations at risk by using advanced brain scans.  We will study cognitively normal individuals and patients with mild cognitive impairments in order to find signatures of incipient dementia in their brain scans.  Scan signatures capable of identifying individuals who will eventually develop dementia are crucial for the development of treatments capable to prevent dementia, by arresting the progression of brain abnormalities.  Measures of abnormal brain proteins and brain inflammation are also needed to monitor the efficacy of treatments targeting inflammation and removal of these brain protein abnormalities. 

Alzheimer's disease represents one of the most important health challenges of the XXI century. Despite the advances in our knowledge about the basic mechanisms involved in Alzheimer's disease very little has changed in terms of treatment over the three decades.  If granted, this research program will provide means for advancing preventive treatments that will alleviate the burden of 280,000 Canadian patients and families afflicted by Alzheimer's disease.