Characterizing Dementia due to mixed Alzheimer and Vascular Pathology
Over half a million people in Canada suffer from dementia today, costing the Canadian society over $15 billion dollars annually. Alzheimer disease and stroke are the first and second most common causes of dementia in the elderly. These two diseases often occur together in the brain, making it difficult to know which disease is contributing more to their cognitive decline. Recently, new tests on cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET), have begun to allow us to identify and quantify Alzheimer and stroke pathology in the living brain.
We hypothesize that patients with mixed dementia, that is, patients with both Alzheimer disease and small vessels cerebrovascular pathology causing their cognitive difficulties, will be affected more severely that those with a single type of pathology, either Alzheimer disease alone, or cerebrovascular disease alone. We also expect that there will be specific protein changes in the CSF (biomarkers) corresponding to each of the Alzheimer and vascular pathology. We will make use of new imaging and biomarker technologies to dissect how the two diseases interact to cause memory and cognitive problems in patients, and to understand how the two diseases together may amplify damages in the brain.
Understanding the interaction between Alzheimer disease and cerebrovascular disease will greatly advance dementia care, help us design better prevention strategies, and improve testing of new drugs under development.
Dr. Robin Hsiung was one of the exceptional scientists identified to be a research grant recipient in the 2013 Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) competition, co-funded by The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation (PARF) and the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC). > Learn more…