Imaging studies within the BRU focus on the development and validation of biomarkers for early and accurate diagnosis of Lewy body dementias, using imaging to investigate the neural basis of key features of the disease to inform new therapeutic targets and the validation of biomarkers for monitoring disease progression in both dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia.
We are undertaking cross sectional and longitudinal studies using multimodal MR imaging, perfusion SPECT and both FDG and ligand PET studies. The simultaneous availability of rich clinical and cognitive data sets from these well characterised clinical cohorts allows imaging biomarkers to be correlated with clinical features, disease progression and ultimately neuropathological changes, allowing new insights into neural substrates underpinning key symptoms in Lewy body dementias.
Our recent work has developed and validated several new imaging biomarkers for Lewy body dementia which have entered widespread clinical practice (dopamine transporter loss, occipital hyperperfusion and structural preservation of the medial temporal lobe).
The BRU supports the development of biomarkers of LBD which is extremely important and very challenging, due to the complex nature of the disease producing high levels of disability due to a combination of motor and non-motor symptoms.
Not only are biomarkers likely to play an increasing role in terms of diagnostic and prognostic assessments, but also they will be vital for the early assessment and monitoring of efficacy of novel interventions.
Supporting the main clinical disease theme our research will identify and validate new biomarkers which will be utilised in clinical practice.