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The Clinical Core of the Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Research: A Novel Approach to the Study of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease

Aaron Ritter, Kirsten Calvin, Marlen Ibarra

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Las Vegas Nevada

Background and Objective: The Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Research (CNTN) represents a novel approach to studying Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s simultaneously. Data collected in the CNTN is shared with collaborators through the CNTN website. This abstract describes the preliminary data from the CNTN collected over the first three years of utilization.

Methods: The clinical core of the CNTN collects longitudinal data on a trial-like cohort of research participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), mild Alzheimer’s dementia (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and a normal control group (NC). Assessments include a neuropsychological testing, functional and structural MRI, comprehensive genetic analysis, and an amyloid positron emission tomography (PET).  A subset of CNTN participants undergo PET of activated microglia, an emerging biomarker of inflammation.

Results:  To date, the CNTN has characterized a cohort of 130 participants across the four disease states. There are significant differences between the PD, MCI, and CNC groups on cognitive testing with PD participants showing more visuospatial dysfunction and AD showing more memory impairment. Worse performance on a task of learning predicted amyloid positivity.

Conclusion: The CNTN is a novel approach to the combined study of AD and PD. This COBRE aims to provide new insights into the genetics, neuroimaging, and cognitive correlates of cognitive decline in these two neurodegenerative diseases.

Grant Support: This work was supported by a Center of Biomedical and Research Excellence (COBRE) grant (reference number: 1P20GM109025-01A1).