The 2020 Doctoral Anne Martin-Matthews Prize of Excellence in Research on Aging

Each year, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Institute of Aging (CIHR-IA) recognizes the highest ranked doctoral trainee in the field of aging from the CIHR open doctoral competition as the CIHR-IA Anne Martin-Matthews Prize of Excellence in Research on Aging recipient.


Étienne Aumont, Université du Québec à Montreal

Research Summary

Alzheimer’s disease affects neurons that release acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the brain. There is, however, some debate over exactly when these neurons are affected. A plethora of recent evidence has shown that cholinergic neurons are affected well before clinical onset of symptoms of the disease. Current measures for characterizing the cholinergic system in the early stages of the disease are imperfect and lack sensitivity. Our research team recently developed [18F]-FEOBV, a new molecular compound that assesses the integrity of cholinergic neurons in the brain with unprecedented precision. [18F]-FEOBV is a radioactive molecular compound that can be detected via positron emission tomography. Based on recent use, [18F]-FEOBV has proven to be the most sensitive marker for detecting and quantifying the severity of Alzheimer’s disease. I intend to use [18F]-FEOBV to better understand whether cholinergic activity is altered in twenty older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. These individuals at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s will be compared to twenty individuals of the same age without cognitive impairment but showing signs of the disease and twenty other individuals at low risk of developing the disease. The study will also attempt to find whether cholinergic activity in certain parts of the brain is associated with cognitive impairment and markers of Alzheimer’s disease even before symptoms surface. The study’s findings may prove that [18F]-FEOBV is an essential tool for detecting individuals with Alzheimer’s disease earlier and more precisely.

Date modified: