Pathological alterations in individuals who develop dementia are thought to occur decades before cognitive decline ensues. Investigation of changes occurring during the asymptomatic preclinical stage of the disease could potentially inform future clinical trials and applied lifestyle or pharmacological interventions.
The PREVENT-Dementia study is a multi-site longitudinal study in the UK and Ireland launched in 2013, with a target recruitment of 700 participants (half with family history of dementia) in the age range of 40-59 years old. The core aim of the study is to unveil potential disease biomarkers and early changes occurring at midlife. As part of the study, participants undergo a full clinical and cognitive examination and are scanned with a multi-modal MRI protocol at 3 Tesla. Follow-ups are planned in two and five-year time-intervals from the initial baseline visit.
The core PREVENT multi-modal MRI protocol involves T1- weighted acquisitions for structural analysis, T2-weighted acquisitions and susceptibility weighted imaging which are used to evaluate small vessel disease burden, diffusion tensor imaging to examine microstructural alterations, arterial spin labeling to measure cerebral hemodynamics, resting state and task fMRI to examine brain function and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate the brain’s neurochemical profile.
The Principal Investigator for the study is Professor Craig Ritchie from the University of Edinburgh. Professor John O’ Brien is leading the brain imaging arm of the study.
Several PREVENT sub-studies involving brain imaging are also underway (ENCRYPT – imaging at 7T and amyloid imaging studies).
Cambridge PREVENT Researchers:
John O’ Brien (lead), Li Su, Stephen Carter, Elijah Mak, Marialena Dounavi, Coco Newton, Zeynep Sahin, Elizabeth McKiernan, Audrey Low
Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Society
Full list here.