Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

ADNI - with Biomarker Core here at Penn - enters next phase

The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is entering its next phase of research. Researchers are seeking new volunteers to join those already participating in the study as it enters a second phase, called ADNI2. Over the next five years, approximately 1,000 people aged 55 to 90 will be enrolled at approximately 55 sites in the United States and Canada. They will be followed to define any changes in brain structure and function as people transition from normal cognitive aging to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often a precursor to Alzheimer’s, to Alzheimer’s dementia. The study will use imaging techniques and biomarker measures in blood and cerebrospinal fluid specially developed to track changes in the living brain. Researchers hope to identify who is at risk for Alzheimer’s, track progression of the disease and devise tests to measure the effectiveness of potential interventions.

This effort will continue to track changes in the brain with clinical and cognitive testing and brain scans measuring glucose metabolism and the amount of beta-amyloid protein—a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease—deposited in the brain. Researchers are also collecting serum and plasma for biomarker measures and blood samples for genetic analysis. All new participants in ADNI2 will receive lumbar punctures to measure cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and will have blood drawn for plasma biomarkers. For more information, read the full NIA press release.

What is ADNI?

The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) began in 2004 as a 5-year public-private partnership to test whether serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), other biological markers, and clinical and neuropsychological assessment can be combined to measure the progression of mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease.

Over 4 million people in the US have AD, and a very substantial number have other dementias. The cost to the US economy is well over $100 billion/yr. The incidence of dementia is expected to double during the next 20 years. No existing treatment has yet been shown to slow the progression of AD but a large number of potential treatments are under development. Once such treatments for patients with AD are approved, the next obvious step will be to perform prevention trials on those at high risk for AD, such as subjects with MCI, family histories of dementia, or genetic risk factors for AD. Many elderly have memory problems, or other risk factors for AD. Once effective treatments for AD emerge, it will be very important to identify subjects at risk for cognitive decline and dementia at the earliest stage possible.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative will be used to help researchers and clinicians develop new treatments and monitor their effectiveness. This will increase the safety and efficiency of drug development by decreasing the time and cost of clinical trials. This project is the most comprehensive effort to date to identify neuroimaging and other biomarkers of the cognitive changes associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

To learn more about ADNI

For more information about ADNI, visit the informational website.

For more information about the Penn Alzheimer's Disease Center and participating in current studies and trials, visit