The central theme of the UT Southwestern ADC is that vascular and inflammatory risk factors in elderly individuals influence the course of AD, MCI and FTLD, and that such factors constitute endophenotypes. A requirement of such endophenotypes is that they be measurable by quantitative psychometric, physiologic, neuroimaging, or biochemical methods. Over the next 5 years, the Clinical Core will carry out studies aimed at developing methods to study these vascular and inflammatory endophenotypes and assess their contribution to AD, MCI, FTLD and normal aging. Our specific hypothesis is that the age of onset and rate of progression of patients presenting with early-stage AD (including MCI) and FTLD are related to the presence of vascular and inflammatory endophenotypes. This hypothesis reflects the interests of Center investigators as well as the expertise of other investigators at UT Southwestern Medical Center. While this theme is our focus, the Clinical Core also functions as a core facility to foster and support investigator-initiated research projects at UT Southwestern that require prospectively collected clinical information and biological fluids, as well as to continue supporting the productive participation by UT Southwestern in multi-institutional collaborative studies. Specifically, the aims of the Clinical Core are as follows: (1). To prospectively follow five longitudinal cohorts of subjects. Four of these cohorts are clinic-based cohorts that we have followed in our Center for several years, and the fifth is a part of population-based cohort added to the ADC during this cycle. (2). To support investigator-initiated research on neurodegenerative dementias by local researchers. (3). To support multi-institutional observational studies and clinical trials in AD, MCI and FTLD.
The development of successful therapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) will require a thorough understanding of the pathologic mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration. Data from epidemiologic and observational studies indicates that vascular and inflammatory pathology contributes to AD. The goal of the UTSW ADC Clinical Core is to identify biomarkers of vascular and inflammatory pathology that will be useful for selection of participants in clinical trials.
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