Neurodegenerative Disease and Contact Sports—Gandy Offers Better Diagnosis

Summary media release information

Date: 
09 November 2017
Contact for further information: 

Janice Besch on 0401 713 535                                     NHMRC Media Team on 0422 008 512

Long-time Alzheimer’s researcher, Sam Gandy (Mt Sinai Hospital, NY) is combining new diagnostic criteria, higher-resolution brain scanning and a new method to determine what’s going on in people’s brains who have had multiple concussions and are experiencing difficulties with cognition.

Gandy uses a compound called ‘Flortaucipier’, which binds to one of the proteins that build up in the brain to cause neurocognitive decline—to achieve almost the level of diagnosis that has in the past only been possible post-mortem.  Sam Gandy states if people get a diagnosis early enough, they might be able to slow down or even stop the disease progression.

’Every fall, I read how fewer and fewer kids are coming out to play high-school football,’ Gandy says.

’With scans, we could figure out what the risk really is. And we could have informed consent for people who want to get into this kind of activity—be able to say that you have a one in 100, or 1,000, or even 1,000,000 chances of getting CTE (a neurodegenerative disease linked to repetitive brain trauma).’

‘But we need to get to the point where every doctor can look at an image and say, ‘that is CTE, no question about it.’ Otherwise, it would be a complete mess.’

Gandy is one of a major line up of internationally recognised speakers in the area of dementia and neurodegenerative disease who will be presenting at the Australian Dementia Forum [ADF2017] in Melbourne between 15-17 October 2017.

ADF2017 is the annual forum of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR).

NNIDR was founded in July 2015 to deliver the Australian Government’s $200 million initiative to boost dementia research. It’s part of NHMRC , and administered by Alzheimer’s Australia.

’The impacts of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases on both a personal and community level across Australia are enormous,’ said Janice Besch, DirectorNNIDR

‘As yet, there’s no known intervention that will cure or curb the progression of dementia and while we know a lot about some of the risk factors, not all of them can be modified.’

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