(Vascular Contributions to Brain Aging and Neurodegeneration)


  • Study Director: Fanny Elahi, MD, PhD
  • Sponsor: National Institute of Aging, Veterans Affairs, Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, New Vision Research
  • Official Study Title: A precision medicine approach to study targetable vascular pathways in brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders
  • Conditions Studied: Age-associated vascular contributions to brain aging and neurodegeneration as well as familial and genetic vascular diseases such as CADASIL (cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy caused by the NOTCH3 mutation), APOE4 allele, and cerebral white matter disease.

Purpose of the Study

In this study, we combine clinical assessment with molecular and imaging studies and advanced data analytics to identify and investigate vascular pathways in brain aging and across neurodegenerative disease syndromes. We expect the results of this study to help us make more accurate diagnoses and support efforts to create treatments for vascular contributions to cognitive impairment. 

Study Details

Please contact us if any of the following are true:

  • You have been diagnosed with CADASIL based on symptoms and brain imaging, know that you have a mutation in the NOTCH3 gene or a known mutation in your family, or have another genetic vascular disease in your family
  • You carry one or two copies of APOE4
  • You have hypertension and have been diagnosed with small vessel disease or white matter disease
  • You have been diagnosed with significant "white matter disease" on brain imaging

Broad Inclusion Criteria

  • Participant must be in stable medical condition for one month prior to screening
  • All participants must be willing and able to undergo testing procedures

Exclusion Criteria

  • Uncontrolled conditions affecting cognition and behavior (e.g., labile blood glucose), brain tumors, and active excessive alcohol and recreational drug use affecting cognition and behavior

What to Expect

Testing and Frequency of Visits: The entirety of participation involves two or three days. Day 1 will include the majority of cognitive testing, administered remotely during the pandemic. On Day 2 there will be a blood draw, brain imaging (MRI) and retinal imaging. If you agree to undergo the optional lumbar puncture, it would take place on Day 3 by a medical doctor. Follow-up visits will be within 12–18 months of the original research participation.

Materials Needed Before Evaluation: None

Costs: No costs will be charged for any of the study procedures. You may be eligible for travel reimbursements that involve participation in the study and for parking. There is no monetary compensation for participation.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact the study director, Dr. Fanny Elahi, at [email protected]