Our research examines structural and functional changes in the brain with aging and age-associated neurodegenerative disease. A primary focus of this work is to determine how the common decline in vascular health with advancing age contributes to neurodegenerative changes, cognitive attenuation and the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. We utilize structural and functional neuroimaging technology as a primary tool to measure subtle alterations in tissue integrity and physiology and how those changes relate to measures of cognitive function and systemic physiology. Through these studies, we hope to advance procedures for the clinical utilization of imaging technology in the diagnosis, characterization and tracking of neurodegenerative disease as well as towards advancing understanding of the pathological mechanisms that cause dementia.

CURRENT RESEARCH STUDY (Actively recruiting!)

Our current study, Cerebrovascular Contributions to Brain Aging and Dementia 2, investigates the influence of vascular health on neural health and subsequent development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A major goal of this study is to better understand optimal physiology for neural maintenance and management of cognitive function, and to identify a new model of cognitive dysfunction and development of AD symptomology. Through the use of novel neuroimaging procedures combined with physiologic measures, this study aims to determine the influence of vascular dysfunction on white matter integrity and lesion formation, investigate how certain white matter lesions contribute to cognitive impairment, and identify the influence of blood brain barrier disruption on white matter integrity and risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Past studies include Cerebrovascular Contributions to Brain Aging and Dementia 1 and MATCH (Association between regional MRI measurement of cerebral blood flow and PET measurement of glucose metabolism in subjects with cognitive impairment and healthy volunteers).

Our research is generously supported by the National Institutes of Health (NINR/NIA), the NCRR (P41RR14075), the MIND Institute, and the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.