Advanced Imaging Techniques and other Biomarkers to Measure Changes in Molecules in the Brain
Amyloid PET scans first became available for research in 2004, enabling us to see evidence of amyloid plaques in living people, one of the two major types of pathologic changes in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Tau PET scans first became available for research in 2013, enabling us to see evidence of neurofibrillary tangles and other types of tau pathology in living people, the other major type of pathologic changes in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. We have been on the cutting edge of applying these amazing technologies to learn more about what they can tell us about the molecules associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the living human brain and how they relate to changes in brain structure and function and symptoms. We have also applied these technologies to try to better understand Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration and Lewy Body Disease, which sometimes coexist with Alzheimer’s disease in the brain. Some of our research demonstrated for the first time that the current generation of tau PET tracers do not work well for the type of tau pathology in some forms of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration, and we are now working on evaluating the next generation of tau PET tracers to see if they can do a better job for this type of tau pathology.
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