Neuropathology Component

Was it really Alzheimer’s disease? This is the most important question that the Neuropathology Core addresses upon the death of a research volunteer for the children and grandchildren who are concerned about developing dementia. During an autopsy of the donated brain, the neuropathologist examines the diseased tissue, looking for the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s disease – senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles – as well as other pathological changes that may have contributed to the clinical symptoms. Today, neuropathological examination of the brain remains the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

Neuropathology Component Co-Leader, Ron Kim, M.D.

Neuropathology Component Co-Leader, Ron Kim, M.D.

In addition to providing families with a “final answer,” brain donation enables scientists to conduct innumerable studies that explore the variety of neuropathological changes that occur during the transition from normal aging to MCI and subsequently Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, and the relationship of those changes to the cognitive, functional, and behavioral symptoms present in life.  Other biological specimens (e.g., plasma, serum, cerebrospinal fluid) donated by our research volunteers while alive are, for example, being used to investigate potential biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.  Accurate biomarkers would enable scientists and ultimately clinicians to identify Alzheimer’s disease in its preclinical state, years before symptoms are evident, and initiate treatment earlier.  Overall, efforts of the Neuropathology Core, led by Drs. David Cribbs and Ron Kim, are directed at uncovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

Neuropathology Component Co-Leader, David Cribbs, Ph.D.

Neuropathology Component Co-Leader, David Cribbs, Ph.D.

All brain tissue and other biological specimens are stored in the ADRC’s Tissue Repository, which is managed by the Neuropathology Core.  Additionally, the Neuropathology Core is responsible for distributing tissue and other biological specimens to researchers and promoting cross-center collaborations to maximize use of these precious samples.   Every ADRC clinician and investigator involved in handling brain tissue and biological specimens does so with great care, highly aware of the invaluable gift our research volunteers are making.

Click here to visit Memory Assessment and Research Center About Biomarkers.
Click here to visit Memory Assessment and Research Center About Brain Donations.


The UC Irvine ADRC CORE COMPONENTS

Clinical
Helps families affected by Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's disease, or another dementia while gathering invaluable research data about the clinical presentation and progression of these cognitive disorders.
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Education and Information
Garners community involvement in research, combats the widespread lack of knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease through a variety of education and outreach activities.
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Neuropathology
Was it really Alzheimer’s disease? This is the most important question that the Neuropathology Component addresses upon the death of a research volunteer for the children and grandchildren who are concerned about developing dementia.
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Data Management and Statistics
Responsible for transferring our ADRC data to the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center which houses and makes available data from all 29 Alzheimer’s disease centers to researchers worldwide.
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Administrative
Responsible for high-level planning, coordinating the five components and any research projects funded through the ADRC, attracting and nurturing the development of new investigators, and managing all ADRC operational requirements.
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