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Gallagher Lab

Gallagher Lab

Catherine Gallagher, M.D.
Catherine Gallagher, M.D.

Dr. Gallagher’s research aims to develop new neuroimaging biomarkers for the pathology and progression of Parkinson’s disease. In particular, the lab is interested in how disease-related changes in brain connectivity affect cognition in Parkinson’s disease. Our data helps us look for associations between standardized cognitive and motor evaluations, and brain imaging parameters such as functional and structural connectivity, volumetric studies, and quantification of white matter hyperintensity volume. Through our work, we seek to better understand the development, diagnosis, progression, and pathology of Parkinson’s disease.

Research interests:

  • Developing new neuroimaging biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease
  • Disease-related changes in brain connectivity
  • Brain imaging parameters and how they relate to cognition and motor function
  • Relationship between REM sleep disorders and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease

Currently Enrolling Projects/Grants:

Longitudinal MRI in Sleep Disorders
Department of Veterans Affairs CSR&D Merit Review
PI: Catherine L. Gallagher, MD

This study aims to determine if certain sleep patterns are associated with subtle differences in brain and body function that might possibly predict the future development of Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, we are interested in a condition known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep without atonia (RWA), in which persons move more than usual during their dreams. Although RWA can be caused by certain medications and psychiatric conditions, it can also occur “out of the blue.” When RWA develops “out of the blue” and is associated with physically acting out dreams, it is known as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Whereas RBD is known to be a strong risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, we do not know if RWA carries increased risk for the disease or not. We are in the process of enrolling approximately 100 subjects, who will undergo neuropsychological and gait testing, as well as an MRI of their brain. We hope to gain insight into whether RWA also carries an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Longitudinal MRI in Sleep Disorders: Microbiome Sample Sub-Study
Department of Veterans Affairs CSR&D Merit Review
PI: Catherine L. Gallagher, MD

Systematic inflammation and changes in the gut microbiome have been suggested to play a role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Participants in our study may elect to complete an additional portion of the research by providing a stool sample for analysis. We hope the characterization of systemic inflammation as well as gut microbiome will strengthen conclusions drawn from the neuroimaging performed.

Synaptic Imaging in Parkinson’s Disease
Internal R&D award through the UW Neurology and Radiology Departments
PI: Catherine L. Gallagher, MD

PET and MRI enable us to examine certain brain networks that are known to be involved in Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, the purpose of this project is to collect brain scans that provide images of synapses in individuals with early-stage Parkinson’s disease, as well as healthy controls. Synapses are located at the end of a neuron (brain cell) and are the point at which electrical or chemical signals pass between neurons. Using an experimental PET tracer called UCB-J, we can measure the concentration of synapses and will investigate whether the amount of synapse measured is related to a person’s cognitive and motor function. Our hope is that this kind of research will lead to a better understanding of biologic markers of Parkinson’s disease, and ultimately lead to better treatments.

PET Data

Age-Related Tau Burden and Cognitive Deficits Are Attenuated in KLOTHO KL-VS Heterozygotes
Driscoll I, Ma Y, Gallagher CL, Johnson SC, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Carlsson CM, Engelman CD, Dubal DB, Okonkwo OC.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;79(3):1297-1305. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200944.
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Impact of sex and APOE4 on age-related cerebral perfusion trajectories in cognitively asymptomatic middle-aged and older adults: A longitudinal study
Wang R, Oh JM, Motovylyak A, Ma Y, Sager MA, Rowley HA, Johnson KM, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Bendlin BB, Johnson SC, Asthana S, Eisenmenger L, Okonkwo OC.
J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2021 Jun 8:271678X211021313. doi: 10.1177/0271678X211021313. Online ahead of print.
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Fitness, independent of physical activity is associated with cerebral blood flow in adults at risk for Alzheimer's disease
Dougherty RJ, Boots EA, Lindheimer JB, Stegner AJ, Van Riper S, Edwards DF, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Rowley HA, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA, Johnson SC, Okonkwo OC, Cook DB.
Brain Imaging Behav. 2020 Aug;14(4):1154-1163. doi: 10.1007/s11682-019-00068-w.
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Cardiorespiratory Fitness Associates with Cerebral Vessel Pulsatility in a Cohort Enriched with Risk for Alzheimer's Disease
Maxa KM, Hoffman C, Rivera-Rivera LA, Motovylyak A, Turski PA, Mitchell CKC, Ma Y, Berman SE, Gallagher CL, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Cook DB, Wieben O, Okonkwo OC.
Brain Plast. 2020 Oct 1;5(2):175-184. doi: 10.3233/BPL-190096.
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Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between total and regional white matter hyperintensity volume and cognitive and motor function in Parkinson's disease
Pozorski V, Oh JM, Okonkwo O, Krislov S, Barzgari A, Theisen F, Sojkova J, Bendlin BB, Johnson SC, Gallagher CL.
Neuroimage Clin. 2019;23:101870. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101870. Epub 2019 May 23.
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Cardiorespiratory Fitness Modifies Influence of Sleep Problems on Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in an At-Risk Cohort
Law LL, Sprecher KE, Dougherty RJ, Edwards DF, Koscik RL, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Asthana S, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Cook DB, Bendlin BB, Okonkwo OC.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;69(1):111-121. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180291.
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KLOTHO heterozygosity attenuates APOE4-related amyloid burden in preclinical AD
Erickson CM, Schultz SA, Oh JM, Darst BF, Ma Y, Norton D, Betthauser T, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Engelman CD, Christian BT, Johnson SC, Dubal DB, Okonkwo OC.
Neurology. 2019 Apr 16;92(16):e1878-e1889. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007323. Epub 2019 Mar 13.
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Arterial spin labeling reveals relationships between resting cerebral perfusion and motor learning in Parkinson's disease
Barzgari A, Sojkova J, Maritza Dowling N, Pozorski V, Okonkwo OC, Starks EJ, Oh J, Thiesen F, Wey A, Nicholas CR, Johnson S, Gallagher CL.
Brain Imaging Behav. 2019 Jun;13(3):577-587. doi: 10.1007/s11682-018-9877-1.
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Longitudinal white matter microstructural change in Parkinson's disease
Pozorski V, Oh JM, Adluru N, Merluzzi AP, Theisen F, Okonkwo O, Barzgari A, Krislov S, Sojkova J, Bendlin BB, Johnson SC, Alexander AL, Gallagher CL.
Hum Brain Mapp. 2018 Oct;39(10):4150-4161. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24239. Epub 2018 Jun 27.
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Moderate intensity physical activity associates with CSF biomarkers in a cohort at risk for Alzheimer's disease
Law LL, Rol RN, Schultz SA, Dougherty RJ, Edwards DF, Koscik RL, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Bendlin BB, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Asthana S, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Cook DB, Okonkwo OC.
Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2018 Feb 6;10:188-195. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2018.01.001. eCollection 2018.
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Longitudinal MRI in Preclinical Parkinson Disease
Sponsor: VA
Award: I01CX000555-05A1
10/1/2017 - 9/30/2022

Lab Staff

Maureen Haebig

Position title: Research Specialist

Colleen Pletcher

Position title: Clinical Research Coordinator I

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