Beta-amyloid and ptau Deposition in the Preclinical Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Imaging studies of beta-amyloid (Abeta) and phosphorylated tau (ptau) are being conducted in presymptomatic individuals at high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Our Lab studies also the relationship of Abeta and ptau deposition to genetic factors and the effect of treatment on brain Abeta and ptau deposition.

Correlation of [18F]T807 (AV-1451) PET with Postmortem Regional ptau Density
To validate [18F]AV-1451 as a marker of phosphorylated tau deposition in the brain, [18F]AV-1451 positron emission tomography (PET) imaging will be obtained in a patient sample. The findings on PET will be correlated with the findings on post-mortem brain examination.

Neuroimaging Correlates of Social Cognition in Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) provides a unique opportunity to study the relationship between social cognition impairment and corresponding structural and functional changes in the brain. Compared with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in normal subjects, lesion approaches, as in the study of FTD, may provide more accurate information on the contribution of various brain regions of interest to processing involved in social cognition. The primary goal of the our research is to use an integrated set of structural and functional MRI measures to define the anatomic and physiologic abnormalities underlying social cognition dysfunction in patients with FTD, with the further goal of improving the diagnosis and management of these patients.

Amyloid and ptau Imaging in Acute and Chronic Concussion

In patients with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, ptau has been found to be abnormally deposited in the brain, and its amount correlates with the degree of cognitive impairment. Head trauma is one of the identified risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. However, when and how ptau deposits in the brain is not known. Longitudinal imaging studies in patients with acute concussion may reveal the very early stages of this process, when therapy targeting tau may be more effective. Furthermore, we are studying ptau deposition in people who, although cognitively intact, have sustained repeated head trauma and are therefore at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), as well as in patients with CTE.

Organization of the Human Thalamus Estimated by Large Network Functional Connectivity
Functional connectivity provides a novel approach to study the organization of the different thalamic nuclear groups. In order to clarify the functional connectivity of the left thalamus, we study the concordance between the resting-state blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in small nuclei of the left thalamus with a similar signal in the rest of the brain.

Houston Methodist Neurological Institute 
6560 Fannin St., Suite 802 
Houston, TX 77030