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If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…Why it May Not Remember: Ability to Image Potential Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease Creeps Towards the Horizon

Finding the causes and best treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a daunting task for scientists, not to mention the clinicians, patients, and their friends and families who deal with the hardships of the disease daily.

Alzheimer's Disease amyloid plaques and microglial cells in a mouse brain, fluorescence micrograph.

Similar to humans, immune cells (green) are interspersed within amyloid plaques (red) in Alzheimer’s mouse brain.

Doctor Cynthia Lemere, Associate Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical may have come one step closer with a neurological imaging study of the brains of mice.

This study in young and old wild type mice and a mouse model of AD used an investigational chemical tracer – developed in partnership with GE Healthcare – designed to help detect inflammation in the brain. Dr. Lemere’s findings showed increased tracer uptake in the brains of older mice and significantly more in the AD mice. This suggests that both aging and development of AD may be associated with increased inflammation in the brain.

Dr. Cynthia Lemere said, “We are excited to have a new tool to study inflammation in the living brain.  This may be helpful for determining how inflammation changes with disease progression and monitoring treatment effects.”

There are currently no definitively accurate ways to detect the brain’s inflammation and track the presence of related neurological diseases.

This investigational tracer may provide value in helping to identify AD earlier. Furthermore, the tracer may aid clinicians and researchers working to develop treatments for AD and other dementia-related diseases.

More Information

ADI World Alzheimer Report  2014