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2017 Grants - Lin
Cerebral Perfusion and Metabolism in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Alexander Peter Lin, Ph.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
2017 Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant (AARG)
Can brain imaging distinguish chronic traumatic encephalopathy from other forms of dementia?
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive brain disease caused by repeated traumatic brain injury, such as repeated concussions. Many of the symptoms of CTE, such as memory problems and accumulation of the protein tau in the brain, are similar to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Because of these similarities, it is often not possible for doctors to distinguish between CTE and Alzheimer’s disease or other causes of dementia until a brain autopsy can be performed.
Alexander Peter Lin, Ph.D., and colleagues are working to develop ways to distinguish between CTE and other forms of dementia that can be used in medical clinics and for future research. Dr. Lin’s team plans to study a group of retired football players, who have high rates of CTE, and compare them with people who have Alzheimer’s disease and with people of the same age who have healthy brain function. The researchers will take advantage of an existing study that is already collecting images of tau in the brain, as well as information from blood and brain function tests. Dr. Lin and colleagues will collect additional information about the brain’s blood flow and brain chemistry, along with the imaging in an effort to identify patterns that are unique to CTE.
This research may lead to methods that can be used in future research or in medical clinics to identify people who have CTE, and to distinguish them from people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. That ability will allow better research in to the causes and potential treatments for each of the different brain conditions.