Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Early Markers of Alzheimer's Disease: Structural and Functional Brain Changes

This study has been terminated.
Johns Hopkins University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute on Aging (NIA) ) Identifier:
First received: May 30, 2013
Last updated: April 19, 2017
Last verified: September 22, 2014


- Participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging are being studied to examine changes in brain structure and function over time, and to determine if these changes can predict the likelihood that an individual will develop thinking and memory impairments such as Alzheimer s disease later in life. Imaging studies and neuropsychological testing have been conducted on current participants, and new participants are being recruited to the study. To develop better treatments and therapies for aging-related memory loss and other disorders, researchers are interested in determining whether early prediction of thinking and memory impairments are accurate and in evaluating factors that affect these predictions.


- To use imaging studies and tests of thinking and memory to determine early markers of Alzheimer s disease and other cognitive impairments.


- Current participants and new recruits to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.


  • Participants will be screened with a full medical history and physical examination, as well as blood and urine tests.
  • Participants will have testing visits as directed by the study researchers. All participants will have tests as part of their an initial enrollment in the study, and may be asked to return yearly, 2 years later, or 4 years later for repeated tests.
  • At each visit, participants will have brain imaging scans (including magnetic resonance imaging and/or magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure brain structure and function, and positron emission tomography to study blood flow in the brain) to evaluate brain structure and function. Participants will also take tests of memory and problem-solving skills.
  • Treatment will not be provided as part of this protocol.

Alzheimer's Disease

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Time Perspective: Other
Official Title: Early Markers of Alzheimer's Disease in BLSA Participants: Structural and Functional Brain Changes

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute on Aging (NIA) ):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Accelerated preclinical changes in brain structure and function in specific regions will predict which individuals develop cognitive impairment and Alzheimer s disease [ Time Frame: Ongoing ]
  • Changes in brain structure are predictors of cognitive decline and impairment though neuroimaging assessments [ Time Frame: Ongoing ]

Estimated Enrollment: 300
Study Start Date: March 10, 2003
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 31, 2016
Primary Completion Date: September 22, 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:
We are examining changes in brain structure and function as predictors of cognitive decline and impairment through longitudinal neuroimaging assessments of selected Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) participants. The hypothesis driving this study is that accelerated preclinical changes in brain structure and function in specific regions, including mesial temporal cortex, cingulate cortex, and inferior parietal cortex, will predict which individuals subsequently develop cognitive impairment and Alzheimer s disease. Since 1994, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and neuropsychological testing have been performed for the neuroimaging participants, aged 55 and older. In the next phase of this study, we will continue longitudinal testing of older participants and will continue enrolling additional participants. We will continue MRI studies of brain structure, with enhanced measures of vascular changes, and will perform PET studies of cerebral blood flow, amyloid distribution in brain, and, in a subset of participants, cerebral glucose metabolism. We will also extend the MRI and neuropsychological evaluations to an additional 60 BLSA participants aged 20 to 54. Our initial data indicate substantial changes in brain volumes and tissue composition through the 5th evaluation, despite only minimal cognitive change in this generally healthy sample. We will continue to follow these individuals and will examine modifiers of both structural and functional brain changes and their associations with cognitive decline. Potential modulators include genetic factors, hormonal status and therapies, medications, dietary supplements, and other health-related factors. We have already observed acceleration of hippocampal volume loss in individuals at increased genetic risk for Alzheimer s disease, carriers of the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 allele, and modulation of memory and regional cerebral blood flow activation patterns as a function of postmenopausal hormone therapy in women and endogenous testosterone concentrations in men. We will continue to examine these and other modifiers of brain-behavior associations. Early prediction of cognitive impairment and factors that alter the incidence or progression of disease will be essential as new therapies are on the horizon.

Ages Eligible for Study:   20 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

BLSA participants who do not meet exclusion criteria


  1. Miscellaneous: Body weight > 300 pounds, history of significant radiation exposure.
  2. Participants with pacemakers, implanted electronic hearing devices, aneurysm clips, shrapnel, unallowed prosthetic or any other metallic device in their bodies.
  3. Pre-existing CNS disease or severe cardiovascular disease (MI, CABG, angioplasty).
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01867372

United States, Maryland
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21205
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21205
National Institute of Aging, Clinical Research Unit
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21224
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Johns Hopkins University
Principal Investigator: Susan M Resnick, Ph.D. National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  More Information

Responsible Party: National Institute on Aging (NIA) Identifier: NCT01867372     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 999903328
Study First Received: May 30, 2013
Last Updated: April 19, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute on Aging (NIA) ):
Alzheimer's Disease

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Alzheimer Disease
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurocognitive Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on May 25, 2017