Detecting early cues of Alzheimer’s disease beyond memory impairments

Dr. Rahel Rabi
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
$100,000 - Quality of Life, Rawlinson Post-Doctoral Award Recepient


“Scientists have made remarkable strides in understanding Alzheimer’s disease, and with recent advances in research involving novel techniques, we can work towards finding a cure.”
- Rahel Rabi

Thanks to generous donors and a research grant from the Alzheimer Society Research Program, Rahel Rabi is undertaking research for early diagnosis and detection techniques of Alzheimer’s disease. Given the increasing prevalence of Alzheimer's disease, early detection is key to preventing and slowing the disease.

Individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer's often display difficulties inhibiting irrelevant information. However prior research has focused more on detecting memory impairments, and less on impairments related to inhibitory control.

To better understand these impairments, Rahel plans to use a technique called event-related potentials (ERPs) to measure the brain’s electrical activity. This is a much more non-invasive and inexpensive way compared to other methods to measure brain activity.

Her team’s objective is to use ERP to identify differences in brain activity between individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer's and healthy older adults when completing an inhibition task.

Rahel and her team are also interested in examining how the time of day affects individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Research has shown individuals with Alzheimer’s disease display symptoms in the late afternoon and eveningknown as the “Sundowning effect.” At-risk individuals will be tested during the morning or evening to determine when cognitive functioning is most optimal.

Thanks to the support of donors like the Rawlinson Family, we will be better able to identify cognitive biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease which will allow for earlier and more accurate diagnoses. It will also inform when the optimal time of day to diagnosis individuals is and help manage their symptoms.

Watch Dr. Rabi’s video blog where she describes her research funded by the Alzheimer Society Research Program in her own words.


Last Updated: 06/18/2019