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Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) MRI for Cognitive Decline

Active, not recruiting

The purpose of this study is to determine the value of arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL MRI), a measure of blood flow to the brain, in finding the cause of cognitive decline in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Investigators will also compare ASL MRI to existing measures, in particular positron emission tomography (PET).

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
55 Years 89 Years Both Yes
August 2012
May 2017

  • Fluent in English
  • Adequate seeing and hearing ability to allow for neuropsychological testing
  • Completed six grades of education
  • Geriatric Depression scale score of less than 6 (assessed within 3 months)
  • Women: Postmenopausal or surgically sterile
  • Participants with MCI:
    • MMSE between 24 and 30
    • Part of the longitudinal cohort of the Penn Memory Center/Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Cohort
    • Available study partner

  • Any significant neurological disease other than MCI
  • Presence of pacemakers, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves, ear implants, metal fragments, or foreign bodies in the eyes, skin, or body; occupational risks for ferrous metal in the eye
  • Major depression, bipolar disorder, or history of schizophrenia
  • History of substance abuse or dependence within the past 2 years
  • Significant illness or unstable medical condition that could lead to difficulty complying with the protocol
  • Severe claustrophobia
  • Pregnancy
  • Clinically relevant abnormalities in prior blood or urine samples, including a blood glucose level of 180 mg/dl or higher
  • Prohibited medications: anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin); other medical or drug treatment contraindicating protocol participation

This study will evaluate ASL MRI, a measure of blood flow to the brain, and compare it to PET imaging in healthy participants and people with MCI.  PET scans have been found  useful in diagnosing MCI and Alzheimer's disease, but the investigators want to find out if they can get the same, or better, information from an ASL MRI scan, which is less expensive and easier to acquire. In addition, the investigators will assess the relationship of these measures to specific protein levels associated with Alzheimer's disease in cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord and is obtained by lumbar puncture. By comparing the information that is available from these procedures to paticipants' performance on cognitive tests, the researchers hope to learn which procedures most accurately identify the possible causes of cognitive difficulties that arise with MCI.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Penn Memory Center
Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19104

University of Pennsylvania

  • National Institute on Aging

Name Role Affiliation
David A. Wolk, MD Principal Investigator University of Pennsylvania

Name Phone Email
Dasha Kliot 215-746-3949


Optimized Arterial Spin Labeling MRI for Cognitive Decline