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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Memory Disorders

Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Sleep Disturbance and Emotion Regulation Brain Dysfunction as Mechanisms of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer's Dementia

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: February 28, 2022
Eligibility: 50 Years to 90 Years, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers
Location(s): Andrea Goldstein-Piekarski, PhD, Palo Alto, California, United States

Recent findings suggest that sleep disruption may contribute to the generation and maintenance of neuropsychiatric symptoms including anxiety, depression, agitation, irritation, and apathy while treating sleep disruption reduces these symptoms. Impairments in the neural systems that support emotion regulation may represent one causal mechanism mediating the relationship between sleep and emotional distress. However, this model has not yet been formally tested within a sample of individuals with or at risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

This proposal aims to test a mechanistic model in which sleep disturbance contributes to neuropsychiatric symptoms through impairments in fronto-limbic emotion regulation function in a sample of individuals at risk for developing, or at an early stage of AD.

This study seeks to delineate the causal association between sleep disruption, fronto-limbic emotion regulation brain function, and neuropsychiatric symptoms. These aims will be achieved through a mechanistic, randomized 2-arm controlled trial design. 150 adults experiencing sleep disturbances and who also have cognitive impairment with the presence of at least mild neuropsychiatric symptoms will be randomized to receive either a sleep manipulation (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia CBT-I; n=75) or an active control (n=75). CBT-I improves sleep patterns through a combination of sleep restriction, stimulus control, mindfulness training, cognitive therapy targeting dysfunctional beliefs about sleep, and sleep hygiene education. Neuropsychiatric symptoms, fronto-limbic functioning, and sleep disruption will be assessed at baseline and at the end of the sleep manipulation through functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), clinical interviews, PSG recordings, and self-report questionnaires. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (anxiety and depression) and sleep disturbance (actigraphy, Insomnia Severity Index, and sleep diaries) will be assayed at baseline and each week throughout the sleep manipulation to assess week-to-week changes following an increasing number of CBT-I sessions. Wristwatch actigraphy will be acquired from baseline to the end of the sleep manipulation at week 11. Neuropsychiatric symptoms and sleep will be assessed again at six months post-manipulation.

PET Imaging of Cyclooxygenases in Neurodegenerative Brain Disease

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 17, 2021
Eligibility: 18 Years to 99 Years, Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Location(s): National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, United States


About 5 million adults in the U.S. have Alzheimer s disease or another adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder. Many studies have found that inflammation in the brain contributes to these diseases. Researchers want to find a better way to measure this inflammation.


To learn whether COX-1 and/or COX-2 is elevated in the brains of individuals with neurodegenerative brain disease compared to healthy volunteers.


Adults age 18 years and older in good general health who have an adult-onset neurodegenerative dementia, such as AD, FTD, corticobasal syndrome, or Huntington s disease and healthy adult volunteers enrolled in protocols 01-M-0254 or 17-M-0181.


Participants will be screened with medical history, physical exam with vital signs, and lab tests. They will have a neuropsychological testing. Their heart function will be measured.

Participants will have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The MRI scanner is a metal tube surrounded by a strong magnetic field. Participants will lie on a table that slides in and out of the tube. The machine makes noise. Participants will get earplugs.

Participants will have 2 PET scans. They will be injected with the study drugs through an intravenous catheter placed in an arm vein. The PET scanner is shaped like a doughnut. Participants will lie on a bed that slides in and out of the scanner. A plastic mask will be molded to their head to keep them from moving. A thin plastic tube will be put into an artery at the wrist or elbow crease area. This will be used to draw blood during the scan.

Participants will have 2-3 study visits. Participation lasts 1 week to 4 months, depending on scheduling.

PET Imaging of Neuroinflammation in Neurodegenerative Diseases Via a Novel TSPO Radioligand

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: July 3, 2019
Eligibility: 18 Years and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Location(s): National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, United States


Aging-related progressive neurological disorders include frontotemporal dementia, Lou Gehrig s disease, and Alzheimer s disease. Little is known about what causes these disorders. Brain inflammation may be involved. Researchers want to see if scans using radioactive drugs can show brain inflammation.


To see if the drug [11C]ER176 can show inflammation in the brain in people with certain progressive neurological disorders compared to healthy adults. Also to find genes that might be associated with or cause these disorders.


People ages 18 and older with an aging-related neurological disorder, and healthy adults


Participants will be screened with a medical history, physical exam, neurological exam, psychiatric history, and blood tests.

Participants will have 2-5 visits for the first session. They will have 2 PET scans and 1 MRI scan. They may have 3 more sessions: 6 months to about 18 months later, 1 year after that, and about 30 months to 5 years after the first visit. There may be up to 20 total visits.

For the scans, participants will lie on a bed that slides into the scanners. For the PET scans, a strap will fix their head in place. A radioactive drug will be injected through a catheter. A needle will guide a thin plastic tube into an arm vein. Additional catheters may be put in place to draw blood. Each PET will take 2 hours. The MRI will take 30 60 minutes.

At each session, participants will have a brief interview, medical history, physical exam, blood and urine tests, heart tests, and memory and thinking tests. They may donate blood for DNA tests.