Dr. Fred Pervic

ALZHEIMER’S STUDY: Vestibular – Topographical Memory Markers For Those At Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease

BDC and Dr. Fred Previc enter the battle against Alzheimer’s with an innovative approach.

Despite years of research, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease remains unclear. But what we do know is that topographic memory impairments are arguably the earliest cognitive observed in Alzheimer’s disease. We also know that the brain areas involved in topographic memory are the first to show degenerative changes. Previous research has shown a link between the impairment of topographic memory in humans with bilateral vestibular loss. However, until now, no one has attempted to correlate topographic memory loss with impairment of the vestibular system in individual members of a normal elderly population at risk for Alzheimer’s. This is the challenge that Dr. Fred Previc and BDC have undertaken.

We are working on Phase I of an SBIR grant funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences that will develop biobehavioral markers for topographic memory impairments and their possible antecedents.

These topographic and possible vestibular biobehavioral markers will be integrated into a web-based interface and decision-support system that will provide an early warning indicator for those at risk of topographic memory failure and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately, this system may be used to identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as those who may be amenable to vestibular remediation.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease as of 2012. Payments for care associated with Alzheimer’s disease are estimated to be $200 billion annually.

As such, the development of these biobehavioral markers has the potential for both a profound impact on public health and commercial success.