Previous Alzheimer’s research has established a known relationship between the build-up of certain proteins in the brain and Alzheimer’s dementia. However, we still do not understand how these protein build-ups cause problems for normal brain function before symptoms arise. One idea is that the build-up of plaques in the brain form a protein called amyloid-beta. This protein may cause individual brain cells to misbehave and transmit signals when they are not supposed to. The goal of this study is to investigate neuron behavior using two different imaging methods at the same time, one using the PET signal and one using the MRI signal. This will allow us to determine how these measures are related to one another and to the proteins in your brain that were measured previously.
Until recently, MRI and PET tests had to be done separately. Now, there is a type of scan called MR-PET that combines both MRI and PET scans at the same time. MR-PET scanning may allow us to get more comprehensive images and information about brain network measures. This study aims to inform the implementation and interpretation of functional imaging in clinical trials and the larger Harvard Aging Brain Study, and will provide critical data to help guide our future research directions for the study of functional brain imaging across the AD spectrum and normal aging.