127: Brain Imaging for Cognitive Decline, CTE, and the 7 Modifiable Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s with Dr Cyrus Raji

Today’s guest on the OPP is Dr. Cyrus Raji, a neuroradiologist at UCSF conducting structural and functional neuro imaging (brain scans) to investigate neuropsychiatric disorders, cognitive decline and head trauma. 
 
He was recently awarded the 2017 Alzheimer’s Grant by the ASNR and his colleague during his training at the University of Pittsburg was Bennet Omalu – the man portrayed by Will Smith in the movie Concussion.
 
On the OPP today, we talk about the 7 modifiable lifestyle choices that could reduce Alzheimer’s diagnoses by 1 million worldwide. 
 
We discuss the amyloid plaques seen on brain scans for Alzheimer’s, why waiting for these to show up is too late and why amyloid removing drugs don’t work (Hint: neural cells are already dead) and how we might correct this with Growth Factors and lifestyle choices – like exercise – that stimulate the release of BDNF, aka Miracle-Gro for the brain.
 
We also discuss the differences between depression and cognitive decline, what each looks like on the MRI, the difference between structural and functional brain scans, and the procedures that led to Bennet Omalu’s CTE discovery, and of course, the current news on NFL players and CTE.  
 
Dr. Cyrus Raji is truly a leader in the field of brain imaging to investigate depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) – He has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers on these topics in such journals such as Neurology, Human Brain Mapping, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and the American Journal of Neuroradiology.
 
I had a blast chatting with Dr. Raji and I’m sure you’ll love this episode.

Tune in to the latest OPP now!