Welcome to the Ances Laboratory
Thank you for your interest in our research studies. Our lab uses state-of-the-art scientific tools to explore how the brain functions. We are very interested in understanding how the brain changes with normal aging and with certain neurodegenerative diseases. We are interested in seeing how these changes affect cognition. Furthermore, we are attempting to use this information to test novel therapies that could improve cognitive deficits associated with normal aging and neurodegenerative disorders (including Alzheimer’s Disease, HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder, Down Syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Autoimmune Mediated Encephalitis, and COVID19).
Are you eligible to be a research participant?
We are always interested in recruiting individuals who are willing to be involved in research. If you are between the ages of 18 and 90 years of age and would be interested in participating in one of our studies, please continue to read about our research and contact us for additional material.
Studies that may be performed:
Our lab uses several different research tools to study cognition in both healthy individuals as well as participants with neurodegenerative disorders across the age range. For all of our studies you will be asked to provide responses to some cognitive experiments. These can include pen and paper tests, computer tests, and even video games. You will also be asked to have a brain scan. This will entail lying still in a long tube for approximately 1 hour. What follows is a description of some of the studies that you may be asked to participate in:
Some of our experiments test your thinking. This means that you sit and do either simple pen and paper tasks, watch images on a computer screen and respond to different tasks by pressing a button, or even play some computer games. Most of these tests will be performed in a quiet room.
We will also ask you to have a scan of your brain using a MRI scanner. These scans provide us pictures of the structure and function of your brain. The MRI scan will take approximately 1 hour to complete. During the scan you will be asked to lie on a scanner bed with a pillow and warm blanket for comfort. You will be provided headphones and will be able to listen to music during the scan. The headphones are also useful to cancel the noise of the scanner itself, which will make various noises throughout the scan. You will be asked to remove all metal, including identification and credit cards, prior to going into the scanner. Lockers are available to store your items. You will be asked to keep as still as possible because movement will blur the images that are taken. If you would like more information on the MRI machine or where the MRIs will be performed please visit the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR) website!
A PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner is able to perform both a nuclear medicine scan and CT (computed tomography) scan at the same time. The affect is that the nuclear medicine image is superimposed with computed tomography (CT) to produce special views, a practice known as image fusion or co-registration. These views allow the information from two different exams to be correlated and interpreted on one image, leading to more precise information and accurate diagnoses.
For some studies we use a Lumbar Puncture to access cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is made in the brain to protect the brain and spinal cord. CSF contains proteins and other chemicals that are important for brain health. The type and amount of these proteins and chemicals may indicate a disease process, such as Alzheimer disease (AD) or potential risk for AD. The analysis of CSF provides a unique “window” into the understanding of how AD develops and progresses. Findings about AD in living people through the study of CSF mean that the illness may be diagnosed during life, without waiting to confirm the diagnosis at autopsy after death.
For some studies we collect blood samples to examine different markers of health.
For some studies we may ask for stool samples. Using stool samples we are able to examine the gut microbiome. A stool collection kit will be provided to you with instructions.
All participants are compensated for the time that they commit to our studies. If you are interested in participating with us, please call us at 314-747-8425 with your name, phone number, and best time to reach you. We will contact you as soon as we can. All information is kept confidential.