PREVENT-AD Annual visits

Jennifer Tremblay-Mercier, Research coordinator – 514-761-6131 #3329

Dr. Sylvia Villeneuve’s Laboratory (website)

Amyloid and tau early deposition and propagation.

Positron Emission Tomography is used to image amyloid and tau proteins in the brain. 130 participants underwent PET scans already and more will be added, along with follow-up scans to observe longitudinal changes.

Protective factors against AD pathology and clinical expression.

A wide range of behavioural features including lifestyle, vascular factors, cognitive reserve, and personality traits are compiled every year via an online platform, while the level of activity and quality of sleep is monitored by actigraphy. All this information is combined with PET and multi-modal MRI data to better understand the associations between such factors, AD risk and pathogenesis.

Dr. Judes Poirier’s Laboratory

Blood biomarkers

Projects are underway in collaboration with Mondial experts at Gothenburg University, Sweden, to detect the presence of proteins characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease in a simple blood sample.

RNA and Abnormal Protein Expression

Thanks to the expertise of the McGill Genomic Center, a project is
currently underway to determine the level of expression of over 25,000 different genes in blood samples from our cohort, and in the brains of people who died of Alzheimer’s disease, from another study. In an exploratory study, we are using a new technology called ‘OLINK-primer extension assay’ to examine a group of 92 blood and brain proteins. This brand-new technology will be of great help in targeting interesting brain proteins, detectable in the blood, that play an active role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Genetics of Alzheimer’s disease

In partnership with the Institut Pasteur in Lille, France, we completed the analysis of DNA samples from our cohort and assigned the genetic code of more than 7.5 million individual variants in the 25,000 genes expressed in humans. Today, it is estimated that the 24 identified genes that are formally associated with Alzheimer’s disease (genetic risk factors) represent only 30% of the genetic risk associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This means that several dozen genes remain to be found and this meticulous work will allow Dr. Poirier’s team to target new potential avenues for treatment or prevention.

Dr. Maiya Geddes’s laboratory

Daily activities and brain health

Project in preparation

Dr. Nathan Spreng’s Laboratory (website)

Role of the cholinergic system in Alzheimer’s disease.

The cholinergic system is studied using specific neuropsychological tests and brain imaging techniques. These studies increase knowledge of how changes to this brain signalling system may impact the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Impact of physical distancing linked to COVID-19

Volunteers in our cohort completed questionnaires during the COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions to track the impacts of social isolation and loneliness on mental and brain health.

Project in collaboration with Optina Diagnostics (website)

Retinal imaging

A hyperspectral retinal camera technology has been developed by the company Optina Diagnostics and could predict cerebral amyloid status as determined by PET imaging, amyloid being one of the main biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. Simpler than PET imaging, non-invasive retinal imaging could be an interesting avenue in the early detection of the disease.