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MRI and PET Biomarkers for Cognitive Decline in Older Adults


In this multiyear study, researchers will test magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and cognitive testing for detecting subtle changes in the brain that precede cognitive decline in older adults who have normal cognition.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 85 Years All Yes
May 1, 2018
December 22, 2024

  • Speaks fluent English
  • Visual and auditory ability adequate for testing
  • Good general health with no disease(s) expected to interfere with the study
  • Normal cognition defined as a Clinical Dementia Rating of 0 and a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 27 or higher

  • Diagnosis of dementia or mild cognitive impairment or evidence of cognitive impairment on baseline testing
  • Significant neurologic disease or condition, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, brain cyst, tumor, or aneurysm
  • Major health conditions, such as nutritional deficiency, or uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease
  • Significant psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Alcohol or substance abuse or dependence within the past 2 years
  • Inability to undergo MRI (e.g., pacemakers, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves, ear implants, metal fragments, or foreign objects in the eyes, skin or body; pregnant or trying to get pregnant)
  • Inability to undergo PET (e.g., significant prior radiation exposure and pregnancy)

Participants will undergo MRI, PET scans, and cognitive tests. Researchers will track cognitive outcomes over time and assess the relationship between Alzheimer's disease pathology, brain structure and function, and cognition. Researchers will also examine the relationship between tau protein in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and cognitive decline through a substudy of PET tau scans with the investigational tracer [18F]MK6240.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of California, Irvine
Irvine California 92697 Recruiting Myra S. Larson

University of California, Irvine

  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
Michael A. Yassa, PhD Principal Investigator University of California, Irvine
Liv C. McMillan Study Director University of California, Irvine

Name Phone Email
Myra S. Larson 949-824-0314
Blake A. Miranda 949-824-4094


MRI and PET Biomarkers for Cognitive Decline in Older Adults