[935] Memory Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease


Our group has a long standing expertise in the field of Alzheimer's and related diseases. Our main research interest focuses on translational neuroimaging combining basic research with the understanding of pathogenesis of neurodegeneration and contributing to the diagnosis of dementia in clinical settings.

In particular:

  • In vivo neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease and related diseases with nuclear magnetic resonance and PET techniques.
  • Biomarkers imaging and CSF for the early diagnosis and "disease tracking" of Alzheimer's and related diseases.
  • Drugs for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Integration of advanced imaging techniques (PET amyloid, tau PET, MR 7T) into clinical practice.
  • The role of microbiota in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.
  • The computerized and automated analysis of large databases imaging of the brain

Research ProjectS

EANM-EAN recommendations for the use of brain 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) in dementing neurodegenerative disorders

Contact: Marina Boccardi

The project aims to outline European inter-societal recommendations to guide dementia experts in the use of FDG-PET in the clinical diagnosis of dementing neurodegenerative disorders. The project is launched and funded by the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) and the European Academy of Neurology. It consists of: a) systematic literature researches, performed for 21 independent clinical issues on diagnosis, prognosis and differential diagnosis; b) assessment of the quality of evidence for each of these issues; c) final Delphi panel to outline consensual recommendations. The panel is made of seven experts with expertise both in clinical practice and scientific research on FDG-PET. They are asked to vote based on the literature evidence provided by the literature assessment as well as on their clinical experience.

AMYPAD - Amyloid Imaging To Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Contact: Christian Moro

The AMYPAD project is a novel research initiative that will bring together academic and private research partners to investigate the value of Beta-amyloid (β-amyloid) using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging as a diagnostic and therapeutic marker for Alzheimer’s disease. The AMYPAD consortium is a combination of 8 academic centers, 3 pharma companies, 2 SMEs and 1 patient organization spread across Europe.  AMYPAD will determine in a real-life clinical setting for whom and when diagnostic β-amyloid imaging is appropriate and best performed, and how the resulting information influence diagnostic certainty and patient management in a cost effective way. This will allow a better understanding of the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease in a pre-symptomatic stage, providing an opportunity for secondary prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, and a more effective selection of patients for treatment trials. AMYPAD will address these goals in strict collaboration with the EPAD project (http://ep-ad.org/).

AMYPAD is mainly sponsored by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the European pharmaceutical industry (via EFPIA) under the auspices of the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking.

A clinical database for diagnosis and prognosis of patients consulting at
the Memory Clinic of the HUG

Contact: Barinjaka Rakotomiaramanana

Research project aimed at the collection and management of clinical and neuropsychological data, acquired during routine care of patients consulting at the Memory Clinic of the HUG, in a dedicated database. This observational study is transversal, as it aims to compare different diagnostic groups, as well as a longitudinal, as it aims to analyse the progression of each type of dementia. The final objective will be to develop diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, precise and feasible, for neurodegenerative diseases.

CoSTREAM – Common Mechanisms and Patterns in Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease

Contact: Paulina Andryszak 

The University of Geneva is part of a group of European institutions that have come together for this Horizons 2020 project to investigate the overlap and interaction of vascular pathology (such as stroke) and cognitive impairment (including Alzheimer’s disease). In the framework of this project our group in Geneva will acquire neuroimaging data from a wide cognitive spectrum spanning healthy elderly individuals and those with beginning Alzheimer’s disease. All participants that agree to join this project will undergo neuropsychological assessment as well as MRI and PET imaging.


gMAD - The Gut Microbiota in Alzheimer’s disease: A Study of Brain Amyloidosis and Tauopathy

Contact: Paulina Andryszak

The aim of the project is to investigate the composition of the gut microbiota, the peripheral inflammatory state, and their association with brain beta-amyloidosis protein and brain tauopathy in people with and without progressive cognitive decline.

EPAD – European prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia consortium

Contact: Christine Trombert

The EPAD project is a research initiative to improve the understanding of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how it leads to dementia. The project provides a platform to investigate new treatments that aim to prevent or delay the onset of clinical symptoms in people at risk of developing the condition. It involves more than 36 organizations across Europe, including universities, pharmaceutical companies and patient organizations. EPAD is mainly sponsored by the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry (via EFPIA) under the auspices of the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking (IMI JU).

For more informations:  http://ep-ad.org/

HBP – Human Brain Project

Contact: Barinjaka Rakotomiaramanana

The aim of the Human Brain Project (HBP) is to build biologically detailed simulations of the complete human brain and to create the informatics, modeling and supercomputing technologies necessary to do so.
The simulations created by the project will serve as the basis for new diagnostic tools and treatments for brain disease, new prosthetic technologies for people with disabilities, a new class of low energy information with brain-like intelligence, and a new generation of intelligent robots. The HBP's goal should be to create an integrated system of ICT platforms and people with the potential to set in motion a new kind of ICT-based brain research. There should be an advanced platform specifically dedicated to: Neuroinformatics, Brain Simulation, Medical Informatics, High Performance Computing, Neuromorphic Computing, and Neurorobotics. Moreover, one of the most important project's goal should be to demonstrate the value of these platforms for fundamental neuroscience research, clinical studies and technology development.

For more information: http://www.humanbrainproject.eu/

Randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study of
Lu AE58054 in patients with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease treated with
an acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor; Study 3

Contact: Maura Parapini

This is an interventional multi-national, multi-site, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study of Lu AE58054 as adjunctive therapy to AChEIs (donepezil, rivastigmine or galantamine) in patients with mild-moderate AD aged at least 50 years or older. The treatment period is 24 weeks, during which the persons, who respect all the protocol inclusion and exclusion criteria, will be assigned randomly to the treatment or placebo group. The study will involve 720 patients in about 100 sites in the world. The Memory Clinic of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève  is one of the site selected to take part in the study. The responsible of the study is Prof. Giovanni Frisoni.

Incremental diagnostic value of Florbetaben Imaging vs. other core biomarkers
for Alzheimer Disease in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
An Investigator-Initiated Sponsored Study

Contact: Maura Parapini

(18)F-Florestan is a novel (18)F-labeled tracer for PET imaging of β-amyloid deposits in the human brain. It has potential value as an imaging biomarker for amyloid deposits in subjects with cognitive impairment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the incremental diagnostic value for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) of Florbetaben Imaging versus Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) markers (Aβ42, τ, and ph-τ) in patients with MCI. 100 amnestic MCI patients will be studied at 11 European academic memory clinics. Patients will be followed for 2 years to evaluate cognitive deterioration and development of dementia. The study capitalizes on patients enrolled and data collected in funded ADNI-compatible studies, on top of which FBB Imaging will be taken. Patients will be included in the study if they will have MR, neuropsychological testing, CSF biomarker results, and clinical and neuropsychological follow-up at 1 and 2 years. Patients will undergo FBB imaging once. The study will provide information on the incremental value of FBB Imaging on the diagnostic confidence that MCI is due to AD in patients with MCI. The data will be used to position FBB Imaging in diagnostic flowcharts and guidelines with other core biomarkers for the diagnosis of MCI due to AD.

The Biological Basis of Cognitive Impairment due to Suspected Non-Alzheimer’s Pathology

Contact: Paulina Andryszak 

This project is designed for studying the interplay between amyloidosis and tau-related neurodegeneration. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to investigate the interaction between amyloidosis and neurodegeneration (synaptic and neuronal loss) in patients affected by progressive cognitive deficits and in subjects with normal cognitive performance with innovative PET ligands.

EADC – Evaluation of the impact of six algorithms for the hippocampal volume
assessment on the diagnostic confidence of Alzheimer’s disease:
a study of the European Alzheimer’s disease Consortium

The aim of this study is evaluate how an automated measure assessment of hippocampal volume, randomly performed by six different algorithms, could induce a change in clinician’s diagnostic confidence.

SRA-NED Harmonization of acquisition and processing of Brain Imaging Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Diseases: A strategic Research Agenda for best-practice guidelines

Contact: Giovanni Frisoni

This project aims to identify barriers to the large-scale harmonization of imaging biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases. This goal will first be addressed by conducting a detailed questionnaire in expert centres to detect the main problems associated with the level of calibration protocols. Second, from the information gathered we will develop guidelines to address the most critical barriers for neuroimaging harmonization. The guidelines will help funding agencies to identify topics and actions for funding, with the ultimate aim of developing best practices to be followed for the elaboration of biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases. 


A Phase 3 Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Aducanumab (BIIB037) in Subjects with Early Alzheimer's Disease

Contact: Maura Parapini

This is a Phase 3 Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Aducanumab in patients with Early Alzheimer’s Disease. The treatment period is 18 months, during which the persons, who respect all the protocol inclusion and exclusion criteria, will be assigned randomly to the treatment or placebo group. The study will involve 1350 patients in about 180 sites in the world. The Memory Clinic of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève is one of the site selected to take part in the study. The responsible of the study is Prof. Giovanni Frisoni, the study coordinator is Maura Parapini.