PROJECT SUMMARY This overall goal of this application is to create an infrastructure for supporting and augmenting neuroimaging research in the National Institute of Aging?s Alzheimer?s Disease Centers (ADC) Program. The ADC program is comprised of 30 centers that pursue research goals dedicated to increasing our understanding of Alzheimer?s disease (AD) with a view towards improving diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients. Over the past decade, neuroimaging has played an increasingly important role in this mission, as new approaches to measuring brain structure, function, and biochemistry have produced biomarkers useful in diagnostic, mechanistic, and therapeutic studies. At the same time, methods for standardization of neuroimaging have become accepted, such that, despite the complexity and cost of imaging, we have the ability to combine images obtained at different centers in order to answer important questions about AD that require large datasets. This project will focus on standardizing approaches to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) images. MR standardization will address structural and functional (task-free) MRI, and PET standardization will address amyloid, tau, and glucose metabolic imaging. We will work with the National Alzheimer?s Coordinating Center (NACC) to develop protocols for securely uploading and de-identifying all images at a NACC image repository, where a searchable database will also be available to researchers. We will develop standards for MR and PET image acquisition, and make these imaging protocols available to the ADC community. Uploaded images will undergo rigorous quality control and processing to permit merging of images obtained on different platforms and, for PET, at different resolutions. Laboratories that have specialized in image processing will produce numerical summary data of brain cerebrovascular pathology, brain volumes, perfusion, diffusion, and cortical thickness, amyloid and tau deposition, and glucose metabolism. These numerical variables will be stored at NACC where it will be linked to other ADC-related data on participants and made available to researchers. Additional aspects of the program will include a website with documentation, search functions, and user help functions. The administrative structure of the project will involve an executive committee with membership from the participating laboratories as well as representation from the NACC, the ADCs, and NIA. Leadership will remain apprised of changes in the neuroimaging landscape, and incorporate new MR and PET measures as they develop with the overall goal of standardizing and disseminating agreed- upon best practices while not stifling the development of new, innovative technical advances.
- National Institute on Aging: $1,657,167.00