High-resolution MRI-based biomarkers for identifying risk for Alzheimer's disease

The goal of this study is to establish minimally invasive and automated techniques as alternatives to more invasive and costly Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers by applying novel MRI-based hippocampal subfield mapping techniques (Pipitone et al., 2014; Winterburn et al., 2013) and microstructural neuroimaging techniques previously developed by our group to study brain regions known to degenerate in AD in 280 seniors who are healthy, have familial history, have MCI, and mild AD. We will use our technology to map, in unprecedented detail, the architecture of memory circuit regions known to be associated with the pathophysiology of AD (the hippocampus and its subfields, the alveus, fimbria, fornix, and the entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices), as well as use measures of white matter microstructures to measure the prevalence of white matter lesions and integrity of brain myeloarchitectonics. Furthermore, we will explore the relationships between these neuroanatomical measures and well-known genetic risk factors such as the effects of APOE genotype in a subset of healthy controls, MCI and mild AD patients. This project is funded by the Weston Brain Institute to support the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.