Developing a database of neuroimages of brains, through MRI scans. Then use these in combination with blood neurofilaments levels, known to be elevated in MND, to create a biomarker of MND

Ayodeji Ijishakin

PhD Student: Ayodeji Ijishakin

Principal Investigator: Dr James Cole

Lead Institution: University College London

MND Association Funding: £79,780

Funding dates: October 2021 - September 2025

About the project

This project looks at the effects of MND on brain volume by using MRI scans. MRI scans of those with both fast and slow progressing forms of MND will be taken in order to determine a ‘brain age’ prediction for patients, these will be compared to MRI scans of healthy individuals (controls). This study aims to develop a neuroimaging MND database and enable a new clinical approach to disease classification and prognosis. The study will also assess blood biomarkers known as neurofilaments which are released into the blood and CSF upon neuron damage, and their concentration increases with brain age. This will act as a secondary measure for the predicted ‘brain age’ of those with MND. The study could lead to neuroimaging and blood neurofilament levels being used in combination to act as biomarkers of MND and allow more accurate disease classification to be established.

What could this mean for MND research?

This study is looking at developing biomarkers for MND, which are a signature of a biological change occurring in a specific disease. Biomarkers are important since they can confirm the presence of disease, can be used to monitor disease progression and can be helpful in clinical trials by showing the response to drug treatment

Project code: 898-792