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Technology Detects Alzheimer’s

Brain StudyScientists are investigating the use of technology to discern normal forgetfulness, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

The task is significant as nearly 10 million baby boomers are at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Mild cognitive impairment is a state between the normal forgetfulness that comes with aging and the more pronounced thinking deficits of dementia. Mild cognitive impairment often progresses to Alzheimer’s disease, but some people remain stable and others recover.

New technology is improving the ability to determine who might fall into each category, reports the April 2008 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

These developments are promising because they are occurring just as the first disease-modifying drugs for Alzheimer’s have reached late-stage clinical testing.

One technology, fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), measures blood glucose metabolism in the cerebral cortex. Diminished glucose uptake suggests that neurons are not as active.

Clinicians can also measure brain volume changes with volumetric MRI to detect shrinkage, which is typical in Alzheimer’s. These techniques are likely to prove most useful when combined with detection of newly discovered proteins believed to be the first signs of Alzheimer’s.

If one of these technologies—or a combination—can reliably predict which people with cognitive impairment are likely to progress to Alzheimer’s, scientists might be able to determine who should get the disease-modifying medications now in development. And they might be able to predict which healthy people are most likely to get mild cognitive impairment, and try to prevent it.

The technologies and medications needed to predict and prevent mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s are still in the early stages of development, but the Harvard Mental Health Letter says that this research will almost certainly lead to better treatments.

Source: Harvard Mental Health Letter

Technology Detects Alzheimer’s

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Technology Detects Alzheimer’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/04/04/technology-detects-alzheimers/2116.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.