The Role of the Basal Forebrain in Early Detection of Alzheimer's Disease

Principal Investigator


  • Keith  Johnson, MD

    Keith Johnson, MD

Project Goals

This project focuses on the first affected brain region in Alzheimer's disease to identify signs facilitating early detection.

Project Summary

An early area of misfolded tau accumulation in Alzheimer's disease lies at the bottom of the brain. This region, known as the basal nucleus of Meynert, has many connections to other brain regions and plays an important role in memory. Detection of tau accumulation in this structure could allow for the earliest recognition of Alzheimer's disease–related processes.

Joost Michiel Riphagen, MD, PhD, and his colleagues will follow the progression of tau buildup in this region, using a combination of cutting-edge imaging techniques applied to study participants over a long period of time. The researchers will assess tau content and the volume of this brain region as they relate to Alzheimer's disease stages. The team also will examine how trends in these patterns are associated with the first appearance of tau changes elsewhere in the brain. 

This work will highlight very early changes in a small brain region and how these changes relate to effects that later appear elsewhere in the brain. The researchers expect the findings to aid in predicting disease progression and in earlier detection of and treatment for Alzheimer's disease.


First published on: August 30, 2023

Last modified on: July 15, 2024