Dr. Astrid Suchy-Dicey, Assistant Professor at WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, has received pilot funding from the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center to further her long-term research project that examines the prevalence, risk, and prevention of neurodegeneration and dementia in American Indian people. Dr. Suchy-Dicey will test for the presence of phosphorylated tau – a biomarker associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia – in a large group of participants from the Strong Heart Study, an ongoing study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in American Indians.
Dr. Suchy-Dicey and IREACH Director Dr. Dedra Buchwald have previously carried out brain imaging and cognitive testing and collected clinical histories in the same group of participants. To better understand the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, the new phosphorylated tau data will supplement this existing information. The new data will be examined in association with evidence of atrophy in targeted brain regions and with cognitive profiles of mild impairment and dementia. Future work will test for additional biomarkers and evaluate the prognostic utility of various biomarkers before the onset of dementia.