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Alzheimer's Disease
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Bipolar Disorder
Disorders
Epilepsy
Huntington's Disease
Neuroinformatics
Major Depressive Disorder
Vascular Diseases

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the sixth leading cause of death in America, affecting an estimated 5.5 million Americans, including up to half of adults over 85. Researchers have identified abnormal protein deposits, called plaques and tangles, in the brains of AD patients, which are believed to contribute to brain cell death. Risk factors include a combination of genetics and environmental influences, but a better understanding of the illness and its progression is necessary to identify effective interventions and treatments.

Current AD Research at LONI

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI)
  • Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN)
  • Lifestyle Enriching Activities for Research in Neuroscience Intervention Trial (LEARNit)
  • Cognitive and physical interventions in Virtual Reality
  • Metabolic risk assessment
  • Mouse models
  • Vascular basis of dementia
  • Gender differences
  • Role of the brain stem
  • Connectivity mapping

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) describes a group of developmental disorders characterized by social difficulties, repetitive behaviors, limited interests, and an onset within the first two years of life. The degree of impairment can range from mild to severe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children has been diagnosed with some form of ASD. Genetics and environmental influences both play a role, but the order is still poorly understood.

Current ASD Research at LONI

  • Mouse models
  • Gender differences
  • Genetic risk

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The illness causes unusual shifts in energy, mood, activity levels, and the ability to perform basic daily tasks. While medication and psychotherapy are effective for many patients, no guaranteed cure or prevention method exists.

Current Bipolar Disorder Research at LONI

  • ENIGMA Bipolar

Development & Developmental Disorders

LONI’s Connectivity and Network Development Group (CANDL) creates and applies cutting-edge structural and functional models of how the networks of the human brain develop and respond to experiences, with an emphasis on the hippocampus. CANDL seeks to understand both healthy brain development and the neurological basis of developmental disorders such as dyslexia.

Current Development Research at LONI

  • Methods development
  • Normal brain development
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neurodevelopment in preterm newborns

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures resulting from a disruption of the brain’s normal electrical signaling. The disease, which affects more than 5.1 million Americans, is poorly understood and incurable. LONI researchers are examining patients and animals with posttraumatic epilepsy to better predict when and how the disorder will develop following a traumatic brain injury.

Current Epilepsy Research at LONI

  • Epilepsy Bioinformatics Study for Antiepileptogenic Therapy (EpiBioS4Rx)
  • Neuromodulation
  • Hippocampal imaging

Huntington's Disease

Huntington’s Disease (HD), a genetic disorder that causes progressive neurodegeneration, affects about 30,000 people in the U.S. The mutated huntingtin gene results in cell death, a loss of normal protein function and the disruption of several intracellular pathways. Currently, the disease’s mechanism is still not fully understood, and a cure does not exist.

Current Huntington's Disease Research at LONI

  • Mouse models
  • Premotor HD
  • Connectivity mapping

Neuroinformatics

The field of neuroinformatics involves applying computational and analytical tools in order to organize, manage, and model neuroscientific data. At LONI, we have numerous faculty and staff researchers dedicated to the development of sophisticated neuroinformatics tools.

Current Neuroinformatics Research at LONI

  • Quality Control
  • Intrinsic Shape Analysis
  • Fiber Orientation Distribution

Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is one of the most common mood disorders in the U.S., affecting more than 15 million Americans. Research indicates that depression is caused by an interaction of biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. A variety of therapies are available, including medications, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy, but there is much about the disease that is still not understood.

Current Depression Research at LONI

  • ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for treatment-resistant depression

Vascular Diseases

Vascular diseases, such as stroke, plague millions of Americans. Severe strokes can leave patients incapacitated with few options for treatment. LONI researchers are working on developing alternative treatment options, as well as better techniques to understand how aging affects the brain’s vascular system. The institute’s newly installed Terra 7T MRI scanner offers an exciting opportunity to image blood vessels in ultra-high resolution.

Current Vascular Disease Research at LONI

  • Intracranial Vascular Compliance (VC)
  • 4D dynamic MR Angiography
  • ENIGMA Stroke Recovery
  • Rehabilitation Environment using the Integration of Neuromuscular-based Virtual Enhancements for Neural Training (REINVENT)
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Perfusion imaging
  • Small vessel diseases and the brain (hypertension, diabetes)