Sometimes living longer is not always associated with a better quality of life. Experts estimate 35 million people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.

Sadly, the prevalence of the disease is expected to double every 20 years with approximately 115 million cases by 2050.

Thankfully, technology may help reduce the pressure on health care systems as new imaging techniques are expected to aid early diagnosis and treatment for this devastating illness.

A special issue of the journal Behavioural Neurology includes twelve contributions from an international group of researchers on emerging imaging techniques.

According to background information, as life expectancy increases across the globe, the incidence of AD rises dramatically.

Currently, AD care costs Medicare and Medicaid and businesses over $148 billion per year.

With an aging population, these costs could potentially triple by 2050. With the prevalence of AD doubling with every decade of life after age 75, merely delaying the onset of AD by five years would produce a 50 percent decrease in the prevalence of disease.

According to guest editor Adam S. Fleisher, M.D., M.A.S., associate director of brain imaging at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, “to effectively target prevention therapies at the pre-clinical stage of the disease, we must develop biomarkers which accurately predict future dementia.

“Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) offer great promise as biomarkers for identifying underlying structural, functional and disease specific pathology in AD, MCI and related disease processes.”

In the journal, imaging experts present both reviews of the latest developments in this field as well as original work, supporting the conviction that neuroimaging will be of crucial importance in tackling this globally pervasive disease.

Source: IOS Press