Daniel Albrecht

Daniel Albrecht
University of Southern California | USC · Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics (INI)

PhD

About

48
Publications
5,905
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Introduction
Daniel Albrecht currently works at the University of Southern California. Daniel does neuroimaging research in neurological disorders, primarily Alzheimer's Disease, but also including chronic pain, psychiatry and addiction. He is particularly interested in investigating the relationship between neuroinflammation and pathology.
Additional affiliations
August 2007 - March 2014
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a deadly neurodegenerative disorder affecting motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. Studies have reported on atrophy within segments of the cervical cord, but we are not aware of previous investigations of the whole spinal cord. Herein we present our findings from a 3T MRI study involving 32 subjects (15...
Article
Background: There is growing evidence that Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis interacts with immunological mechanisms in the brain. CSF and blood inflammatory markers of the NF-κß pathway, a key transcriptional regulator of inflammation involved in learning and memory, are elevated in cognitively normal older adults and those with early MCI. Ho...
Article
Full-text available
While COVID-19 research has seen an explosion in the literature, the impact of pandemic-related societal and lifestyle disruptions on brain health among the uninfected remains underexplored. However, a global increase in the prevalence of fatigue, brain fog, depression and other “sickness behavior”-like symptoms implicates a possible dysregulation...
Article
Prior work has identified associations between sleep quality and amyloid‐beta (Aβ). However, how sleep efficiency relates to Aβ, cerebral blood flow (CBF), and cognition are not well understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate these relationships and the modifying role of APOE4 status. Objective sleep efficiency, Aβ, CBF, and cognitive...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The impact of COVID-19 on human health extends beyond the morbidity and death toll directly caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In fact, accumulating evidence indicates a global increase in the incidence of fatigue, brain fog and depression, including among non-infected, since the pandemic onset. Motivated by previous evidence linking those...
Preprint
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Background Few studies have investigated how inflammation early in the disease course may affect AD progression over time despite converging evidence that elevated levels of inflammation are associated with AD in cross-sectional studies. Methods Two-hundred ninety-two research participants with CSF biomarkers from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimag...
Article
We recently showed that patients with different chronic pain conditions (such as chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, migraine, and Gulf War Illness) demonstrated elevated brain and/or spinal cord levels of the glial marker 18 kDa translocator protein, which suggests that neuroinflammation might be a pervasive phenomenon observable across multiple...
Article
The positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer [ ¹¹ C]PBR28 has been increasingly used to image the translocator protein (TSPO) as a marker of neuroinflammation in a variety of brain disorders. Interrelatedly, similar clinical populations can also exhibit altered brain perfusion, as has been shown using arterial spin labelling in magnetic reson...
Article
The weak association between disability levels and “peripheral” (i.e., knee) findings suggests that central nervous system alterations may contribute to the pathophysiology of knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Here, we evaluated brain metabolite alterations in KOA patients, before and after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), using 1H-magnetic resonance spectr...
Article
We recently showed elevated levels of the 18kDa translocator protein (TSPO), a marker of neuroinflammation, in chronic low back pain patients (cLBP) compared to healthy controls(Loggia et al., 2015). Here, we test whether TSPO signal 1) can further subtype cLBP patients based on their clinical presentation, and 2) is associated with functional conn...
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Full-text available
Negative affect (NA) is a significant cause of disability for chronic pain patients. While little is known about the mechanism underlying pain-comorbid NA, previous studies have implicated neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of both depression and chronic pain. Here, we tested the hypothesis that NA in pain patients is linked to elevations in...
Article
CNS inflammation is a key factor in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), but its relation to pathological Aβ, tau, and APOE4 is poorly understood, particularly prior to the onset of cognitive symptoms. To better characterize early relationships between inflammation, APOE4, and AD pathology, we assessed correlations between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inflammato...
Article
The weak association between disability levels and "peripheral" (i.e., knee) findings suggests that central nervous system alterations may contribute to the pathophysiology of knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Here, we evaluated brain metabolite alterations in KOA patients, before and after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), using 1H-magnetic resonance spectr...
Article
Amyloid‐PET is considered an early marker for the preclinical stage of AD, while the neurofibrillary tangle pathology detected with tau‐PET imaging correlates more closely with neuronal injury and cognitive decline. However, PET scans are expensive and involve radiation exposure. Recently, entropy measures have been explored as indices of the compl...
Article
Brain accumulation of tau and cerebrovascular dysfunction are both important contributors to AD pathogenesis, but associations between vascular health and tau levels, and their effects on clinical outcome, are poorly understood. We investigated these associations in a cross‐sectional study, by performing comparisons between cerebral blood flow (CBF...
Article
Identifying modifiable risk factors that prevent or delay the onset of dementia remains a priority. While there is evidence that physical activity (PA) can improve cognition (Hillman et al., 2008; Kramer & Colcombe 2018) and prevent cognitive decline (Sofi et al., 2011; Hamer & Chida, 2009), our understanding of the mechanisms through which PA exer...
Article
Tau pathology and vascular dysfunction are important contributors to Alzheimer's disease (AD), but vascular-tau associations and their effects on cognition are poorly understood. We investigated these associations in male and female humans by conducting voxelwise comparisons between cerebral blood flow (CBF) and tau positron emission tomography (PE...
Article
Using positron emission tomography, we recently demonstrated elevated brain levels of the 18kDa translocator protein (TSPO), a glial activation marker, in chronic low back pain (cLBP) patients, compared to healthy controls (HC). Here, we first sought to replicate the original findings in an independent cohort (15 cLBP, 37.8±12.5 y/o; 18 HC, 48.2±12...
Article
Issues with model fitting (i.e. suboptimal standard deviation, linewidth/full-width-at-half-maximum, and/or signal-to-noise ratio) in multi-voxel MRI spectroscopy, or chemical shift imaging (CSI) can result in the significant loss of usable voxels. A potential solution to minimize this problem is to estimate the value of unusable voxels by utilizin...
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Full-text available
Background Cortical spreading depression (CSD) underlies the neurobiology of migraine with aura (MWA). Animal studies reveal networks of microvessels linking brain‐meninges‐bone marrow. CSD activates the trigeminovascular system, evoking a meningeal inflammatory response. Accordingly, this study examines the upregulation of an inflammatory marker i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Issues with model fitting (i.e. suboptimal standard deviation, linewidth/full-width-at-half-maximum, and/or signal-to-noise ratio) in multi-voxel MRI spectroscopy, or chemical shift imaging (CSI), can result in the significant loss of usable voxels. A potential solution to minimize this problem is to estimate the value of unusable voxels by utilizi...
Article
Full-text available
Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a chronic disorder affecting approximately 30% of the veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War. It is characterised by a constellation of symptoms including musculoskeletal pain, cognitive problems and fatigue. The cause of GWI is not definitively known but exposure to neurotoxicants, the prophylactic use of pyridostigmine...
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Full-text available
Background: Chronic pain and mood disorders share common neuroanatomical substrates involving disruption of the reward system. Although increase in negative affect (NA) and decrease in positive affect (PA) are well-known factors complicating the clinical presentation of chronic pain patients, our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the inte...
Article
Objective: To determine if migraine with aura is associated with neuroinflammation, which has been suggested by preclinical models of cortical spreading depression (CSD) as well as imaging of human pain conditions. Methods: Thirteen migraineurs with aura and 16 healthy controls received integrated PET/MRI brain scans with [11C]PBR28, a radioliga...
Article
Background: Patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) experience chronic cognitive deficits. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are enzymes that regulate cognitive circuitry; however, the role of HDACs in cognitive disorders, including SCZ, remains unknown in humans. We previously determined that HDAC2 mRNA levels were lower in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (D...
Article
Full-text available
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a poorly understood chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. While mounting evidence suggests a role for neuroinflammation, no study has directly provided evidence of brain glial activation in FM. In this study, we conducted a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) stu...
Article
Numerous preclinical studies support the role of spinal neuroimmune activation in the pathogenesis of chronic pain, and targeting glia (e.g., microglia/astrocyte)- or macrophage-mediated neuroinflammatory responses effectively prevents or reverses the establishment of persistent nocifensive behaviors in laboratory animals. However, thus far the tra...
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PurposeBrown adipose tissue (BAT) in adult humans has been recently rediscovered and intensively investigated as a new potential therapeutic target for obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, reliable assessment of BAT mass in vivo represents a considerable challenge. The purpose of this investigation is to demonstrate for the first time that h...
Article
The translocator protein (TSPO) is a commonly used imaging target to investigate neuroinflammation. While TSPO imaging demonstrates great promise, its signal exhibits substantial interindividual variability, which needs to be accounted for to uncover group effects that are truly reflective of neuroimmune activation. Recent evidence suggests that re...
Article
Full-text available
Approximately 30 % of Americans suffer from chronic pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia (FM), which can cause debilitating pain. Many pain-killing drugs prescribed for chronic pain disorders are highly addictive, have limited clinical efficacy, and do not treat the cognitive symptoms reported by many patients. The neurobiological substrates of chr...
Article
Neuroinflammation is implicated in the pathophysiology of a growing number of human disorders, including multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. As a result, interest in the development of novel methods to investigate neuroinflammatory processes, for the purpose of diagnosis, development of new t...
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Full-text available
Although substantial evidence has established that microglia and astrocytes play a key role in the establishment and maintenance of persistent pain in animal models, the role of glial cells in human pain disorders remains unknown. Here, using the novel technology of integrated positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging and the recently...
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Rationale: Dopamine (DA) in the ventral striatum (VST) has long been implicated in addiction pathologies, yet its role in temporal decision-making is not well-understood. Objectives: To determine if VST DA D2 receptor availability corresponds with greater impulsive choice in both nontreatment-seeking alcoholics (NTS) and social drinkers (SD). M...
Article
Dopamine (DA) dysregulation within fronto-striatal circuitry may underlie impulsivity in alcohol and other substance use disorders. To date, no one has directly demonstrated DA release during a task requiring the control of impulsive behavior. The current study was conducted to determine whether a response inhibition task (stop signal task; SST) wo...
Article
Studies have reported lower striatal D2/D3 receptor availability in both alcoholics and cigarette smokers relative to healthy controls. These substances are commonly co-abused, yet the relationship between comorbid alcohol/tobacco abuse and striatal D2/D3 receptor availability has not been examined. We sought to determine the degree to which dual a...
Article
Full-text available
Striatal dopamine (DA) is increased by virtually all drugs of abuse, including alcohol. However, drug-associated cues are also known to provoke striatal DA transmission- a phenomenon linked to the motivated behaviors associated with addiction. To our knowledge, no one has tested if alcohol's classically-conditioned flavor cues, in the absence of a...
Article
Background: Although the incidence of cannabis abuse/dependence in Americans is rising, the neurobiology of cannabis addiction is not well understood. Imaging studies have demonstrated deficits in striatal D(2)/D(3) receptor availability in several substance-dependent populations. However, this has not been studied in currently using chronic canna...
Article
In studies where [(11)C]raclopride (RAC) positron emission tomography (PET) is used to assess changes in striatal dopamine, it is important to control for cognitive states, such as drug craving, that could alter dopamine levels. In cigarette smokers, transdermal nicotine patches (TNP) can control nicotine craving, but the effects of nicotine patche...
Article
Knowledge of the reproducibility of striatal [11C]raclopride (RAC) binding is important for studies that use RAC PET paradigms to estimate changes in striatal dopamine (DA) during pharmacological and cognitive challenges. To our knowledge, no baseline test–retest data exist for nontreatment-seeking alcoholics (NTS). We determined the test–retest re...
Article
Dopamine transmission abnormalities have been implicated in the etiology of bipolar disorder (BPD). However, there is a paucity of receptor imaging studies in BPD, and little information is available about the dopamine system in BPD. Reuptake of synaptic dopamine by the dopamine transporter (DAT) is the principal mechanism regulating dopamine neuro...
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Full-text available
Owing to its photoluminescent properties and high surface area, porous silicon (por-Si) has shown great potential toward a myriad of applications including optoelectronics, chemical sensors, biocomposite materials, and medical implants. However, the native hydride-termination is only metastable with respect to surface oxidation under ambient condit...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
I'm doing an imaging study in patients with sciatic nerve radiculopathy, and I'm trying to find out the vertebral level that is adjacent to where the L4, L5, and S1 nerve roots enter the cord.
I understand that there will likely be a large amount of variability among people, and most of the resources I've seen so far suggest that they enter the cord somewhere between the level of L1, T12, and T11 vertebrae.
Does anyone know of any studies (e.g. fiber tracing, DWI) that have attempted to more formally answer this question? 
Thanks for your help!
Dan
Question
I'm conducting a human imaging study with [11C]PBR28, a TPSO PET ligand, and am considering including subjects who are prescribed benzodiazepine medications. I am familiar with the 2013 Synapse publication by Kalk et al. that analyzed binding affinities of several benzos to TSPO in post-mortem human brains, but unfortunately they compared a limited range of benzodiazepines. I was wondering if anyone knew of any additional information or studies that included a larger range of benzos (e.g. alprazolam). Thanks!

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