DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The candidate's long-term goal is to become an independent investigator in the field of neuroimaging in dementia. The candidate's goal over the three-year training period is to consolidate her background in clinical research while acquiring the necessary knowledge base specifically in the area of neuroimaging, neuropathology, behavioral neurology, and biostatistics in dementing disorders. The candidate's proposal is designed to enhance her interdisciplinary research experience in the area of neuroimaging surrogates of dementia as she progresses towards an independent academic career. The goal of proposed research project is to establish a foundation for identifying H-1 MR spectroscopy (H-1 MRS) markers of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) syndromes and common dementias. Surrogate markers sensitive to early diagnosis and disease progression are critically needed for disease-specific preventive therapies in dementing disorders. With the user-independent data analysis methods we will employ in this project, H-1 MRS has the potential to be a biochemical imaging marker for dementing disorders. People with the syndrome of amnestic MCI are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, MCI is clinically heterogeneous. It is reasonable to suspect that the syndrome of non-amnestic MCI syndromes represent prodromal stages of dementias other than AD, the most prevalent of which are dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia. This project will test the hypotheses there are regional metabolite differences between cognitively normal elderly and patients with common dementias and mild cognitive impairment syndromes compared to cognitively normal elderly. This project is designed to encompass the whole spectrum of cognitive performance from normal to various MCI syndromes and to people with common dementias. It is expected that regional H-1 MRS metabolite markers will be identified for MCI syndromes and common dementias, which will establish a foundation for future prospective studies to determine the validity of H-1 MRS metabolite measurements as surrogate markers for prodromal dementia.
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