Published: 2018-10-10 19:54 | Updated: 2018-10-10 20:29

New thesis on how to increase understanding for how biomarkers in brain (PET) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) relate to one another in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Antoine Leuzy

Hi Antoine Leuzy, PhD-student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics. On 26 October you will defend your thesis "Dynamics of proteinopathies in Alzheimer´s disease as measured by PET and CSF biomarkers”, what´s the main focus of the thesis?

The main focus of my thesis was to gain an improved understanding of how positron emission tomography (PET) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) based measurements of brain pathology (biomarkers) relate to one another in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. We also sought to examine the utility of these measures from a clinical standpoint.

Which are the most important results?

We found that in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, PET and CSF biomarkers of the core pathological processes (amyloid and tau), were often not interchangeable; we also found that certain CSF measures improved concordance with PET findings. In addition, we observed that the relationship between functional changes (cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism), thought to occur as a result of amyloid and tau pathology, might vary by disease stage. Lastly, we showed that amyloid PET, an imaging technique whereby one can quantify amyloid levels in the brain, had a meaningful impact on the management of patients undergoing memory clinic based investigations due to cognitive complaints.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

With the field moving increasingly towards biomarker driven approaches, it is critical that we have a solid grasp of how these biomarkers relate to one another. These measures can help us to not only better understand Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions from a mechanistic standpoint, but also help us to fine tune their implementation in both the clinical work up of cognitively impaired patients, and in the selection of suitable populations for prevention trials. I think that the new knowledge generated as part of this thesis represents a modest but meaningful step in that direction.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

Yes; I will be starting a post-doctoral research position at the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, in November. My long-term goal, however, is to combine research with medicine; getting into medical school will be tough, but I intend to succeed. Hopefully, I won’t be the only 35-year-old!