Previous research suggests that changes in the brain due to Alzheimer’s begin prior to any symptoms of the disease. One of these changes is an elevated level of amyloid plaque that builds up in the brain and has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Traditionally, positron emission tomography – computed tomography (PET-CT) scans are used to detect the presence of elevated amyloid in the brain; however this method is expensive and invasive (requires injection of a drug). This study will be looking to see if memory and thinking tests, also known as cognitive tests or cognitive tasks, performed on the computer will be able to detect the presence of an elevated level of amyloid in the brain. During the course of this study, participants will be asked to complete a series of cognitive tests and receive a PET-CT scan. The data from both the tests and the scan will be compared to determine if the memory and thinking tests can predict the presence of amyloid build up in the brain. If the computer cognitive tasks prove sensitive to the presence of brain amyloid, they will provide a low cost, non-invasive and readily available method for detecting early Alzheimer’s disease, known as preclinical Alzheimer’s. If further validated in future studies, these new cognitive tasks could help detect individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The purpose of the study is to validate several new computer memory and thinking tests to detect preclinical Alzheimer’s. One of the current methods of detecting Alzheimer’s disease is the PET-CT scan to detect brain amyloid. It is thought that high levels of amyloid in the brain can lead to increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. These scans will be used to measure the accuracy of the memory and thinking tests to predict the presence of amyloid build up in the brain.
Participants will be asked to come in for a total of three visits over the course of this study. At the first visit, participants will be screened to confirm they have no current thinking or memory impairment and are in general good health. They will then be asked to perform a group of thinking and memory tasks using computers at the first and second visit. The third visit will consist of a PET-CT scan to measure amyloid build up in the brain.
You may be able to join this study if you meet the following criteria.
This study is being conducted at New York University (NYU) Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Center for Cognitive Neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center, 145 East 32nd Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016
If interested please contact Sheila Mark, (212) 263-7618, Sheila.Mark@nyumc.org