2016-2017 Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award*

Nucleus Basalis of Meynert Degeneration in Parkinson Disease Cognition

VCoA*The Virginia Center on Aging which administers the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund for the Commonwealth of Virginia, provides seed money to researchers in Virginia to stimulate innovative research into biomedical and psychosocial aspects of dementia, including cell biology, caregiving, and animal modeling.


Nucleus Basalis of Meynert Degeneration in Parkinson Disease Cognition

Matthew J. Barrett, MD, MSc, Jason Druzgal, MD, PhD, and Scott Sperling, PsyD

University of Virginia

Dementia in Parkinson disease (PD) is a major source of morbidity. Degeneration of neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert contributes to dementia in PD. For this reason the nucleus basalis of Meynert has been identi-fied as a potential intervention point to treat dementia in PD, and deep brain stimulation has been proposed as a potential therapy. As a preliminary step toward testing this procedure in PD, the investigators will determine whether Magnetic Resonance Imaging measures of nucleus basalis of Meynert volume correlates with cognition in PD. This is critically important to identify PD patients that would most likely benefit from an intervention. They will also investigate whether specific genetic factors are associated with reduced nucleus basalis of Meynert volume in PD. Determining factors associated with nucleus of basalis Meynert degeneration would allow treat-ment to be targeted to more vulnerable PD patients. This research will provide important information for the future study of deep brain stimulation of the nucleus basalis of Meynert to treat dementia in PD.

(Dr. Barrett may be contacted at (434) 243-2012, mjb5t@virginia.edu; Dr. Druzgal may be contacted at (434) 982-1736, tjd4m@virginia.edu; Dr. Sperling may be contacted at (434) 982-1012, sas7yr@virginia.edu.)

 

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