Dementia Clinical Research Database:
How do the types of dementia differ?
The Dementia Clinical Research Database is the TDRA’s foundational project; it uses a standardized test of cognition developed by TDRA scientists, and captures a variety of clinical data from consenting patients. Cognitive tests and clinical data are used by neurologists to help support a diagnosis, but these data are also very interesting and useful to researchers. Collecting the same information on a population of people with different types of dementia reveals important clues about what makes them different. Having this detailed description will also help researchers make more informed decisions about which trials would be a good fit, and to better track outcomes.
How can we better diagnose different neurodegenerative diseases?
TDRA sites are participating in the Ontario Brain Institute’s (OBI) Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI). This provincial collaboration with more than 500 participants and over 50 researchers is studying the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, and how best to improve diagnosis and treatment. The conditions being studied are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
- Vascular cognitive impairment (resulting from stroke)
What if changes to the eye could be used to diagnose dementia earlier?
The Brain-Eye Amyloid Memory (BEAM) study is investigating whether measurements of the eye can be used with other tests to detect dementia earlier. By comparing the results of non-invasive tests similar to those done in an eye doctor’s office with established tests of cognition, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, researchers can look for links between changes in parts of the eye in dementia. PET scans can detect amyloid that has deposited in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. More details on the BEAM study.
Can a medication approved for high blood pressure prevent decline in Alzheimer’s disease?
Shrinkage or atrophy of the brain is a common effect of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and is associated with a decline in cognitive ability. The SARTAN-AD study is comparing the effects of two approved medications for high blood pressure – Telmisartan and Perindopril – on their ability to stabilize the brain in persons with high blood pressure and AD. Participants will be enrolled in this study for 12 months, and will have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing to measure whether there is any effect of the medication. More details on the SARTAN-AD study.
We are currently looking for participants to join this clinical trial.
Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented?
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is considered to be the an early stage of dementia, and is typically followed by a progressive decline in cognitive ability. Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia with Cognitive Remediation plus Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Depression (PACt-MD) investigates the effectiveness of games designed to boost and preserve cognition and non-invasive brain stimulation on slowing down the progression of MCI to Alzheimer’s disease.
This study is currently in development
Can we re-purpose an approved medication for epilepsy to preserve brain health?
Above average electrical activity in a part of the brain known as the hippocampus can be unhealthy. This hyperactivity is common in other diseases such as epilepsy, but for some individuals with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease it may contribute to the progression of the disease. This study will recruit healthy participants with specific genetics and a family history of disease to look at how common hyperactivity is in this population, and whether low doses of an approved medication for epilepsy can reduce it.