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2017 Grants - Ge
Developing Advanced Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability Imaging for Early AD
Yulin Ge, M.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
2017 Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant (AARG)
Can a faster type of magnetic resonance imaging detect subtle changes in the blood-brain barrier associated with cognitive impairment?
In most body tissues, small substances in the blood can readily flow out of the blood vessels and into the tissue. In the brain, however, blood vessels are especially restrictive to such flow between the blood and brain; the barrier that performs this function is known as the blood-brain barrier. Impairments in the blood-brain barrier are known to be associated with early-stage dementia.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to evaluate brain structure in living people. There are several different types of MRI’s that can be performed and analyzed, allowing researchers to focus on specific aspects of brain function. One form of MRI, known as dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, has been used to evaluate the blood-brain barrier. But it usually requires participants to remain still for long periods (20-35 minutes), which is often not feasible.
Yulin Ge, M.D., and colleagues have been working to develop a new dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI method for evaluating the blood-brain barrier. They have proposed a series of studies to further develop and evaluate this new method, which requires participants to be still for less than 10 minutes. Dr. Ge and colleagues plan to test how well this new MRI method measures the permeability of the blood-brain barrier in both young and older people. They also plan to determine if this MRI method accurately detects changes that are associated with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that sometimes precedes Alzheimer’s disease.
The goal of this research is to develop a more feasible way to use MRI brain imaging to measure the integrity of the blood-brain, and to determine if such measurement is a good way to detect those at risk for early stages of cognitive impairment. The results may also help scientists understand how impaired function of the blood-brain barrier contributes to declines in brain function.