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Quantifying microstructural changes in Alzheimer's disease using Restriction Spectrum Imaging

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R44AG076194-01
Agency Tracking Number: R44AG076194
Amount: $247,965.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PAS19-316
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-07-31
Small Business Information
La Jolla, CA 92037-0068
United States
DUNS: 086086498
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (858) 203-4856
Business Contact
Phone: (858) 401-8466
Research Institution

Project Summary/Abstract
The overall goal of this project is to deliver an automated diffusion image analysis tool to be
used in a clinical setting that quickly evaluates the diffusion images in conjunction with MR
volumetric images and reports diffusion-based microstructural parameters derived from
segmented anatomical locations to determine Alzheimer’s disease status of patients.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized with β-amyloid deposits and neurofibrillary tangles
preceding neuronal loss and cognitive decline. Hence quantitative volumetry and measures of
neuronal function have been studied extensively as potential bioimaging markers. There has
been increasing evidence of microstructural alterations in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains in addition
to the volume and functional changes in neuronal bodies. While diffusion imaging has been
used effectively in diseases involving specific white matter pathways, the recent advances in the
diffusion imaging techniques particularly multi-compartmental models for successfully
quantifying microstructural changes now enables the effective use of diffusion imaging in
Alzheimer’s disease. Restriction Spectrum Imaging (RSI) is an advanced diffusion imaging
method and currently can be used in MR scanners from major manufactures which have the
capability to acquire multi-shell diffusion imaging. Recent studies of Alzheimer’s disease
patients with diffusion techniques reported decreased diffusion anisotropy in multiple white
matter tracts as well as increased diffusion in gray matter structures. Microstructural changes
due to axonal and dendritic pathology, would reflect in diffusional measures. Advanced
diffusion methods that are sensitive to neurite density and orientation are best qualified for
elucidating the neuropathological changes preceding the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s
patients. Indeed, strong correlations between tau deposits measured by PET studies and
neurite density index measured by advanced diffusion techniques were reported. There was
also evidence of higher neurite dispersion in Alzheimer affected brain regions in addition to
diffusion tensor imaging findings. Correlations with cognitive measures and diffusion
parameters were also reported in a group of Alzheimer patients. Recent studies showed
abnormal CSF measures of β-amyloid and tau levels associated with widespread alterations in
white matter microstructures throughout the Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. Since CSF measures
are well established biomarkers for AD pathology, in vivo and non-invasive determined diffusion
parameters may convey AD related brain changes and predict future cognitive decline.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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