Short-term memory binding (STMB) refers to our ability to hold in memory on a temporary basis combinations of features such as shapes and colours. I have developed a novel STMB test which has proved sensitive and specific to Alzheimer's disease (AD) holding properties of a cognitive marker for this type of dementia. I have recently investigated the brain network supporting this particular type of memory function. I have found that it involves regions in the visual ventral stream which different to those known to be targeted by AD in its earliest stages. This is opening new opportunities to develop a novel biomarker of memory for AD (BioM-AD). fMRI, PET Scan, or High Density EEG are expensive and required dedicated hospital facilities. In order to reach the wider population affected by this epidemic disorder, we need portable, friendly and inexpensive methods which combine sensitivity and specificity for AD. This study aims to deliver a method which will meet these criteria. By combining the analysis of STMB data with EEG data collected from a minimum set of electrodes which sample the hubs of the involved brain network, we will contribute a novel biomarker of memory for AD, namely BioM-AD.
Specific questions BioM-AD is addressing:
1) What are the neural signatures of STMB in brains affected by AD? Specific hubs of the brain network supporting STMB would provide biological information which would increase the sensitivity of the assessment method and would shift the detection of impairments to earlier stages (pre-symptomatic).
2) Can the combined analysis of STMB and network models unveil a memory phenotype of prodromal AD? The high sensitivity and specificity of the STMB test for AD would be further strengthened by the biological information drawn from the neural activity underlying this memory function. This combined approach would reveal the biomarker properties of the STMBT for AD.