The brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by abnormal aggregation of amyloid and tau proteins. The main hypothesis is that these proteins lead to neurodegeneration and related cognitive impairments. Until recently the only way to measure these proteins was to look at the brain post-mortem.
Using new positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracers, it is now possible to quantify these proteins in-vivo and to explore their relationships with other Alzheimer’s biomarkers such as change in brain volume and neuronal connectivity. This presentation will highlight some of the main challenges faced by researchers in this field of amyloid and tau imaging. Recent findings and future perspectives will also be presented.
Dr. Villeneuve is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. She received a PhD in Neuropsychology from the Université de Montréal in 2011. She did a first postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California Berkeley assessing the interplay between beta-amyloid deposition, vascular diseases and cognition in the preclinical phase of Alzheimer’s disease. She did a second postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University where she assessed the predictive value of neurovascular insults, such as deterioration of the blood-brain barrier or reduced cerebral vascular reactivity, to detect early changes associated with amyloid pathology. Dr. Villeneuve is a member of the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec since 2009.