Networks and genes: towards a better understanding of cholinergic dysfunction in Lewy body dementia
Principal Investigator: Dr Jude Harrison
Lewy body dementia (LBD), which includes Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), is characterised by significant damage to key brain networks, and this is associated with the cognitive and behavioural symptoms experienced by those living with LBD.
Distinct changes in brain receptors are also seen in LBD. However, it is not clear how degeneration of the key brain regions and networks relates to brain receptor problems. Examining gene expression – the process controlling how genes are used to make proteins – may help us understand this.
We also don’t understand how real-world patient factors, such as medication or co-existing health problems impact on these.
This study aims to:
- examine key brain volumes and brain networks and assess their relationship to the symptoms of LBD
- investigate whether any changes in gene expression relate to brain structure, brain networks and patient symptoms
- explore the relationship between brain receptor problems and the gene expression in key areas and how this relates to patient symptoms
Brain receptors will be examined through Single Positron Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and brain volumes and networks will be studied using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).