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Principal Investigator  
Principal Investigator's Name: Derin Cobia
Institution: Brigham Young University
Department: Psychology and Neuroscience Center
Proposed Analysis: The overarching aim of this project is to characterize thalamic integrity in two known AD pathology clinical phenotypes – namely the aphasic and amnestic variants – and relate it to various aspects of their cognitive presentation. The rationale for this approach is to leverage a dissociation model to characterize relationships between observable behaviors and underlying brain integrity. We will utilize neuroimaging data for high-dimensional surface mapping of the thalamus, as well as clinical and cognitive data to assess relationships with imaging findings. Overall, this study will clarify the role of the thalamus in various clinical AD phenotypes and its relationship with primary cognitive domains. It is anticipated findings will influence strategies aimed at the diagnosis, management, and treatment of those with AD pathology. Aim 1: Quantify and compare thalamic volume and shape features in individuals with amnestic AD and aphasic AD against healthy age-matched control subjects. Repeated measure two-way analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) models will be conducted to compare thalamic volume and shape, with group status (amnestic AD vs. aphasic AD vs. CON) as the fixed effect and hemisphere (LH vs. RH) as the repeated measure. In addition, composite surface maps of the thalamus at every graphical vertex will be constructed and shape displacements will be estimated at each surface point as the difference between the means of the group vectors in magnitude. Aim 2: Examine how thalamic atrophy relates to deficits in language and memory performance in aphasic AD and amnestic AD, respectively. Pearson bivariate correlation models will be used to evaluate relationships between mean shape displacement of thalamic nuclei and neuropsychological performance in AD groups.
Additional Investigators