Where to Turn for Research: Human Studies of eFAD

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University of California, Los Angeles

Summary
At-risk relatives in families with FAD are invited to come to the clinical research center (CRC) of UCLA for a 4-5-day evaluation. Both carriers and non-carriers are needed for comparison. One goal of this study is to improve early AD diagnosis; related goals are to characterize the presymptomatic/prodromal stage and to identify objective biomarkers. Distinguishing features of this study are its diverse array of different brain imaging measures and an emphasis on assessment of the Latino and Spanish-speaking population. This study already has more than 30 volunteers enrolled.

Study Leaders/Contacts
John Ringman, M.D. 
Associate Professor 
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center 
UCLA Department of Neurology 
Director, Kagan Alzheimer's Disease 
Treatment Development Program 
10911 Weyburn Ave., 2nd Floor 
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7226 
Phone: 310-794-3231 
Fax: 310-794-3148 
John Ringman website

Louis Medina, B.A., Staff Research Associate 
Phone: 310-794-0355 
E-mail: LDMedina@mednet.ucla.edu

Procedures

  • Cognitive testing.
  • Genetic counseling, genetic testing.
  • Brain imaging.
    • MRI for volume and structural measurements. 
    • Diffusion tensor imaging to look for damage to the brain's white matter tracts. 
    • FDDNP-PET for amyloid/tangle imaging. This is the only academic center using the FDDNP PET tracer. Many other centers studying amyloid imaging use a tracer called PIB, and some centers use newer ones that are being developed, as well. 
    • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure changes in brain chemicals such as aspartate and inositol that change with disease. 
    • Functional MRI to measure brain activity.
  • Lumbar punctures for spinal fluid biochemistry. (No continuous CSF monitoring.)
  • Blood draw for plasma biochemistry.
  • Psychiatric and clinical assessments.

Family Support
The study pays for travel and lodging at a UCLA guesthouse. It also pays a small amount per day of study participation. Currently tries to secure funding for return visits.