This 5-year clinical scientist development award proposes the use of quantitative epidemiologic principles to relate post-mortem findings to neurologic conditions associated with aging. A spectrum of parkinsonian signs, including bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor, and gait imbalance are common in older persons without Parkinson's disease, and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The nigrostriatal system also shows a spectrum of change with age. Preliminary data suggest that nigral neurofibrillary pathology is more common than previously recognized and is related to parkinsonian signs in older persons with and without Alzheimer's disease. The proposed studies will relate nigral neurofibrillary pathology and biochemical nigrostriatal changes to quantitative measures of global and specific parkinsonian signs in older persons with and without Alzheimer's disease. We will test the hypotheses that neurofibrillary pathology, specifically within the pars compacta of the substantia nigra, rather than the ventral tegmental or retrorubral areas, accounts for parkinsonian signs in older persons with and without AD, and that the mechanism by which neurofibrillary pathology produces parkinsonian signs involves decreased gene expression of tyrosine hydroxylase and a reduction in striatal dopamine, but not neuronal loss. We will also determine the role of mitochondrial mutations in the pathogenesis of neurofibrillary pathology and parkinsonian signs. The proposed project will use brain tissue of 80 older persons, without Parkinson's disease, in The Religious Order Study, a longitudinal study of over 650 catholic clergy who have agreed to annual examinations and brain donation after death. The proposed study will provide the Candidate in the opportunity to work with senior colleagues and allow the development of a unique research area that integrates the clinical neurology and neuropathology training. Through the course of these studies and analyses, through didactic sessions with her sponsors and consultants, and related course work, the candidate will develop the skills necessary to become an independent investigator.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
Program Officer
Finkelstein, Judith A
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Rush University Medical Center
United States
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Cade, Brian E; Gottlieb, Daniel J; Lauderdale, Diane S et al. (2016) Common variants in DRD2 are associated with sleep duration: the CARe consortium. Hum Mol Genet 25:167-79
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Boyle, Patricia A; Buchman, Aron S; Wilson, Robert S et al. (2007) Physical activity is associated with incident disability in community-based older persons. J Am Geriatr Soc 55:195-201

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