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Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Enters Third Phase

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health announced today the launch of the third phase of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), which will include the use of new brain imaging technologies and the recruitment of new volunteers for the program.

The ADNI was launched 12 years ago to conduct a longitudinal, prospective, naturalistic study of normal cognitive aging, mild cognitive impairment, and early Alzheimer's disease in order to develop neuroimaging technologies and biomarkers for the onset and progression of the disorders. Individuals participating in the study complete various imaging and clinical assessments, and are followed and reassessed over time.

In its first two phases, the ADNI enrolled roughly 800 volunteers and included examinations using MRIs and functional MRIs, diffusion tensor imaging, and AV45-, FDG-, and PIB-PET scans, in addition to blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and DNA analyses. In the newest phase, the initiative will include the use of tracers that image tau protein tangles — a known indicator of Alzheimer's disease — in vivo, the NIH said.

The third phase of the ADNI — called ADNI3 — will also add the use of new measurements of cognitive ability and track cognitive changes in volunteers online via the Brain Health Registry. It is expected to enroll an additional 1,200 volunteers across the US and Canada.

"ADNI3 will move the bar higher still in this collaborative effort to gain a clear understanding of the subtle Alzheimer's-related brain changes in volunteers, long before symptoms appear, and the biological changes that mark its progression," National Institute on Aging Director Richard Hodes said in a statement. "These insights are vital to researchers and clinicians working worldwide in their selection of clinical trial volunteers and the testing of promising interventions."