ECE Alumnus Dr. Richard Frayne to speak: Imaging Small Vessel Disease in Aging and Dementia

Friday, March 17, 2017 1:30 pm - 1:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Richard Frayne
Speaker: Richard Frayne, PhD

Hopewell Professor of Brain Imaging, Radiology and Clinical Neuroscience, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, and Scientific Director, Seaman Family MR Research Centre, Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Health Services

Abstract: About 250,000 Canadian seniors suffer from a brain disorder known as vascular dementia. Over the next twenty years, this number is expected to rise to more than 650,000, primarily due to aging of our population. Vascular dementia is a complex disease that is both difficult to define and diagnose, particularly from the natural processes associated with healthy aging. Pathological changes to the small blood vessels of the brain represent a common element of this disease and, over time, these changes result in a reduction of brain function, i.e., dementia.

In Calgary, as part of a comprehensive and integrated aging and dementia research effort, we have an active program developing new magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques to assess small vessel-related changes. We are active in proposing, developing and evaluating new MR based tools that can assess the health of small vessels and brain tissue, and provide important insight into brain structural and functional deterioration. Our general approach focuses on providing structural and functional quantitative measurements in the brain for variables that are (potentially) implicated in changes due to early small vessel disease. The long-term goal of our work is to develop accurate methods for detecting these diseases at an early stage, thus allowing for steps to be taken to avert or delay brain deterioration.

In addition, we are active in participating and coordinating large imaging trials of normal aging and of dementia. We are also participate in an international consortium (jointly funded by CIHR and European Union) that has proposed standards for imaging small vessel diseases (Wardlaw JM, et al., Lancet Neurol 2013; 12: 822) and analyzing data from multiple trials of vascular dementia (Dichigans M, et al., Alzheimers Dement 2016; 12: 1235). At a forthcoming workshop, we will explore harmonization of brain imaging methods to better estimate the vascular contributions to neurodegeneration.

These studies are/have been funded by a number of agencies including the CIHR, NSERC, CFI, Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions, the Tomorrow Project, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Stroke Network, the Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND) Research, o Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Brazil), the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and the Hopewell Professorship in Brain Imaging.