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The Prevalence of Alzheimer's Disease Pathology After Traumatic Brain Injury in Veterans and Civilians: A Biomarker Study of Beta-Amyloid and Tau


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Background: Retrospective studies suggest that traumatic brain injury (TBI) increases the risk of Alzheimers disease (AD) four-fold. This has not been supported by recent PET imaging studies including our previous work (Dore V, Cummins TL, et al. Tau, beta-amyloid, and glucose metabolism following service-related Traumatic Brain Injury in Vietnam war veterans: The AIBL-VETS study. PREPRINT. PET scanning to measure the proteins Amyloid and Tau are the key predictors of future AD. This study investigates civilians and veterans with single TBI using the latest generation of more sensitive imaging biomarkers. Hypothesis: That individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have a higher prevalence of AD related pathology and neurodegeneration compared to age matched controls. Study Design: We will use the latest generation of PET imaging and 7 Tesla MRI to measure AD pathology and chronic traumatic brain damage. We will study 150 elderly TBI subjects and 100 age-matched controls. In addition, psychological testing will be carried out such that the imaging results can be tested for correlation with clinical endpoints. Progress: The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the 7T MRI imaging and recruitment of Vietnam veterans has been difficult. Never-the-less good progress has been made. To date 28 Vietnam war veterans with TBI, 19 veteran controls, 95 persons with moderate or severe TBI due to motor vehicle accident and 63 age matched MVA controls have been studied with amyloid and tau PET, 3T MRI and neuropsychological testing. Consequently overall recruitment is on schedule with 82% of TBI and 82% of control assessments complete at the end of year two except for 7T MRI. This is due to Covid lockdown of the 7T MRI facility but scanning has now commenced.



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