Research focuses on Alzheimer’s diagnosis, treatment
From the WashU Newsroom…
Beau M. Ances, MD, PhD, has been named the inaugural Daniel J. Brennan, MD, Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Using state-of-the-art imaging techniques, he works to develop diagnostic tools and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
He was installed by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
“Dr. Brennan left a generous bequest to support Alzheimer’s disease research at Washington University,” Wrighton said. “It is a privilege to establish this professorship in his name. The inaugural holder of this professorship, Beau Ances, is a gifted scientist who already has made great contributions to understanding Alzheimer’s. We are fortunate to be able to recognize and support Beau’s outstanding work with this endowed professorship.”
Ances, a professor of neurology, of radiology and of biomedical engineering, showed that the network of connections within the brain changes as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, with some changes occurring before symptoms appear. He also found that accumulation of the protein tau is closely linked to the onset and worsening of symptoms such as memory loss and confusion, and to the death of brain cells.
“Beau’s research has changed our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease,” Perlmutter said. “His work will lead to new ways to prevent and treat this devastating disease.”
Using brain imaging techniques, he found functional and structural changes to the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and linked such changes to cognitive problems such as difficulty concentrating and clumsiness.
Along with his research into Alzheimer’s, Ances has studied the neurological impact of HIV infection in children and adults.
“Beau has made groundbreaking contributions to many aspects of neurology, including neuroimaging and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders,” said David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. “He is also an exceptional clinician, particularly noted for the quality of care he provides for people with neurological problems due to HIV infection and autoimmune inflammation in the brain.”