The European Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (E-ADNI) was the first extension of ADNI beyond the flagship North American ADNI (NA-ADNI) study. E-ADNI began in 2005 as a proof-of-concept pilot project funded by the Alzheimer's Association. The goal of the pilot study was to evaluate whether sites within the European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium (EADC) could provide the expertise and infrastructure to adopt the NA-ADNI platform and protocols. Documenting the feasibility of this collaboration would move NA-ADNI toward a truly global effort sharing common standards to assess cognitive function, understand how function changes with age, achieve earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and advance the effort to find more effective treatments and preventions.
The EADC is a network of 50 clinical and research sites that has carried out in Europe a variety of multinational, multicenter investigations in Alzheimer's treatment, diagnosis and centralized data storage. Seven EADC academic centers in the Netherlands, Italy (two sites), Denmark, Germany, Sweden and France participated in the E-ADNI pilot.
Results of the E-ADNI pilot showed that EADC centers could recruit volunteers with Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and normal cognition who were very similar to their counterparts enrolled in NA-ADNI. The pilot also showed that E-ADNI sites could collect equivalent clinical data, biological samples and brain images. Another conclusion from the pilot was that additional funding was needed to carry out the aims of WW-ADNI. As a result, in 2008 the European Commission awarded €2.8 million to support development of neuGRID
to provide a state-of-the-art neurosciences information hub to support communication, archiving of imaging and other data, and development and sharing of computationally intensive and algorithms and applications. The original neuGRID project concluded early in 2011. The European Union has recently funded a second generation of the data access and archiving initiative called neuGRID for You (N4U) scheduled to launch in mid-2011.
In work funded in part by the Alzheimer's Association, E-ADNI is currently leading an initiative to standardize measurement of volume in the hippocampus, a brain structure that's often the first region affected by Alzheimer's. The hippocampus is the brain's control center for processing and storing memories. Numerous studies show that people with Alzheimer's, on average, experience greater hippocampal shrinkage than do people without the disease. However, we need to standardize assessment techniques before volume measurement can progress to wider use in general clinical practice or as a benchmark in investigating treatment effects.
- To read about the pilot study establishing the feasibility of the E-ADNI collaboration with NA-ADNI, please click here.
- To read about the original European Union neuGRID initiative, please click here.
- To read about the recently-funded, second-generation neuGRID for you (N4U) initiative, please click here.
- For more information about E-ADNI, please click here.