Project Grant


Professor Tim Anderson
University of Otago, Christchurch

Tau imaging and cognition in Parkinson’s disease

Using new technology to determine how the accumulation of a protein in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients affects cognitive decline

Most people with Parkinson’s develop cognitive problems and, in many cases, dementia. Suitable objective tools that measure the underlying brain changes that underpin this cognitive decline need to be identified.  These tools are important for both trials of new preventative treatments and for use in the clinic. This study will measure accumulation in the brain of an abnormal protein, tau, which is associated with the development of Parkinson’s dementia. Professor Anderson’s study will involve the use of tau PET scans in 70 people with Parkinson’s disease with varying cognitive problems including dementia to show how tau accumulation in the brain reflects degree of cognitive decline. Positron emission tomography scanning is a diagnostic tool that uses a tracer to illuminate specific proteins or cancer cells.