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New Brain Scan IDs Early Alzheimer’s

A recent study suggests a new type of brain scan, called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), may detect early-onset brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s.

“As better medicines for Alzheimer’s disease become available, it will be important to identify people at high risk for the disease as early and accurately as possible so treatment can be most effective,” said Norbert Schuff, PhD, with the University of California and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, author of an editorial about the research.

For the study, 76 healthy people in Rome aged 20 to 80 underwent DTI-MRI brain scanning, which is more sensitive than traditional MRI for detecting changes in brain chemistry, thereby mapping fiber tracts that connect brain regions. The researchers examined DTI changes in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is critical to memory and one that is involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants were given verbal tests and tests that measured visual perception of space between objects. Scientists compared the brain scans and found that changes in DTI imaging better explained declines in memory than did measuring hippocampus volume through a traditional MRI.

They found that mean diffusivity in the hippocampus better predicted verbal and spatial memory performance in the participants, especially in those who were 50 years of age or older.

“Our findings show this type of brain scan appears to be a better way to measure how healthy the brain is in people who are experiencing memory loss. This might help doctors when trying to differentiate between normal aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s,” said study author Giovanni Carlesimo, PhD, with Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy.

“DTI, along with MRI, could serve as an important tool in understanding how and why a person experiences memory decline.”

The report is found in the current online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

New Brain Scan IDs Early 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). New Brain Scan IDs Early Alzheimer’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/01/07/new-brain-scan-ids-early-alzheimers/10604.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.