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Alexandru Hanganu, PhD

Adjunct Professor

Faculty of Arts and Sciences – Department of Psychology / Université de Montréal

What motivated you to study in the field of Parkinson’s?

Nowadays, living longer has become normal. Adding years to life makes it more and more difficult to keep an active mind and avoid the development of age-related brain diseases.

Parkinson’s disease is one of the tracks that takes us away from normal aging. It has become possible to measure subtle changes in cognitive performance. While these changes may tell us when Parkinson’s disease becomes more impactful, they also describe an existing decline. Our objective is therefore to define measures that would help us better understand how our brain adapts to these new changes and to reverse them. We have previously reported structural changes that can be identified before cognitive performance becomes a challenge. Today, we aim to describe an even earlier stage defined by neuropsychiatric symptoms, including depression, anxiety, apathy and impulse control disorders. These parameters may predict Parkinson’s disease and cognitive impairment at an earlier stage than current markers.

 

What are the goals of your research project?

I study behavioural and neuropsychiatric patterns and their influence on neuroimaging data in elderly and neurodegenerative patients. These patterns provide the identification of clinical and neuroimaging markers with the highest possibility for predicting future cognitive impairment by generating predictive models.

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