The Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases is engaging the diverse Houston community as partners to develop a precision medicine approach for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and related conditions. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are remarkably heterogeneous. More targeted, personalized approaches for diagnosis and treatment are urgently needed. We are recruiting subjects from across the disease spectrum, from healthy adults to advanced dementia and/or parkinsonism. Since racial and ethnic differences may be important factors in the development of Alzheimer’s, we are actively recruiting from minority and underrepresented communities. According to recent census data, Houston is the most racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse city in the nation.
To characterize early impairments, CAND investigators perform comprehensive cognitive and motor assessments. Neuroimaging studies, including MRI and state-of-the-art PET scans, permit detection of pathologic changes in the brain, including pre-symptomatic stages of disease. Blood samples are processed for whole genome sequencing and comprehensive metabolic profiling. Importantly, all participants can learn the results of their evaluations, and genetic counselors are available to review personalized genomic risk profiles with participants. Clinical and molecular data and biospecimens are available to BCM and other interested investigators. These resources will permit elucidation of the causal chain from genetic perturbations to interactions with the environment and, ultimately, brain dysfunction and neuronal loss that leads to unique manifestations of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s in each individual.