Institute of Neuroscience

The SUPErB study: 123 I-MIBG scintigraphy Utility

The SUPErB study: 123I-MIBG Scintigraphy Utility as a biomarker for Prodromal Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) affects over 130,000 people in the UK and is the second commonest cause of dementia in older people after Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Establishing an early and accurate diagnosis of dementia and identifying the specific subtype of dementia is extremely important. Currently even when a diagnosis of DLB is made following the first appearance of symptoms, the underlying disease process is actually at a late stage. Making an accurate diagnosis, especially during the very early phase of the disease (known as the prodromal or pre-dementia stage) is difficult. And at the moment there are no generally accepted measures to us to help make a diagnosis of prodromal Dementia with Lewy Bodies (pDLB).

To help us improve this situation, we can however look for “biomarkers”. These are indicators of early disease and include a range of possible changes, such as changes in the brain, in the blood, changes to the nerves to the heart and even changes in the ability to accurately identify different smells.

The aim of this study is to see whether we can use biomarkers to accurately diagnose the pre-dementia stage of Dementia with Lewy Bodies and in doing so, create a standardised pathway to diagnosis. This would allow patients to be diagnosed at a much earlier stage in the disease thereby allowing them to make informed decisions about their future care and to maximise the effectiveness of any future treatments.

The study team sees participants on five different occasions to start with and then once a year for the next four years (see summary attached below). At the beginning of the study volunteers will be assessed to determine their suitability to take part. They will be asked questions about their memory and mood and the views of their friends and relatives will be sought in order to build a fuller picture. Volunteers will then undergo a range of tests: blood tests, ECG, ability to smell, MIBG scan, FP-CIT / DaTSCAN, EEG, MRI and an optional lumbar puncture. Participants will be contacted annually for 4 years for follow up assessments. If required, taxi transportation can be organised for all research visits.

The study is looking for male and female patients, aged 60 or over with early signs of memory loss but who are able to function well in their daily activities. Volunteers may have been given a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild/early dementia and they must be able to consent in order to take part. Summary of stages in the SUPErB study (PDF:136KB)

We are also looking for healthy volunteers, SUPErB study summary sheet for healthy controls. (PDF:130KB)

If you would like more information on this project or are interested in taking part please contact the SUPErB team or call 0191 208 1322.

Newcastle University staff and students linked to the project:

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