Veterans required for research project !

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on Alzheimer’s disease in Australian war veterans

What is the purpose of the study?
The aim of the study is to find out if traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has long term impacts on memory and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Who can take part?
We are recruiting 150 veterans aged between 60-85 years.

What does participation involve?
There are 6 main appointments* involved in this project:
1. Screening interview
2. Memory assessment
3. 3 PET brain scans
4. MRI scan
*Taxi vouchers or alternative transport can be arranged for those who have difficulty attending the appointments.

So What’s it all about?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be classified as mild,
moderate or severe and symptoms range from feeling
a little dazed, to losing consciousness, and/or
forgetting parts of the event. Studies following US war
veterans from WWII and the Korean War have
reported that veterans with a history of head injury are 2-4 times more at risk of Alzheimer’s disease than the average person. However, this research is inconclusive and there is currently no consensus as to the mechanisms involved in this relationship.

Australia has been a world leader in the development of new brain imaging scans that use a technique called positron emission tomography (PET). The recent development of these state of the art scanners now gives scientists the ability to peer into the brain of
living individuals in search of abnormal clumps of proteins named amyloid plaques and tau tangles. These proteins are thought to be the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease and dementias. It is anticipated that results from the current study will provide invaluable data to the search for effective dementia prevention and treatment.

A team of researchers from Austin Health, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the University of Melbourne and Monash University has received funding from the US Department of Defense and the Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop Foundation to
investigate if TBI results in the amyloid plaques and tau tangles that significantly increase the risk of later life dementia.

The team has been recruiting veterans aged over 60 to participate in the study, and is over half-way to meeting their target of 150 volunteers. This research still requires 35 volunteers who have suffered a head injury whilst serving within the military and 25 without head injury. Head injury can be due to a variety of
mechanisms, including combat or sports related.

Volunteers will be interviewed to collect information about their military service, medical history and measure their memory performance. Those who are suitable for the full study will then have three PET scans, one to measure the plaques, one to measure the tangles and one to measure brain cell activity in all parts of the brain, and an MRI scan. A blood sample will also be taken in order to investigate if genes play a role in the risk for dementia after TBI.

If you would like to take part in this research, or if you would like to find out more, please contact Ms. Tia Cummins:[email protected] 03 9496 5748. Alternatively, please log on to www.brainpet.org.

Dunlop Florey