Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MRI Scans Show Structural Brain Changes in People at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease


Anytime I read research about "spotting" Alzheimer's early", I feel greatly encouraged. Even today, it is important to get the diagnosis early and to get the currently available treatments. In the future, there will be better and more effective treatments.

Alzheimer's Reading Room


I think you will agree we are all hoping and praying for a treatment that will dramatically slow the progression of Alzheimer's diesease; and then, a treatment that will stop Alzheimer's disease from progressing.

The important point here. It is necessary to find ways to detect Alzheimer's before it becomes "full blown". Once the disease reaches the moderate to severe stage it will be too late.

The identification of biomarkers and the use of MRI scans can play an important role in early detection -- spotting mild cognitive impairment. But the best scenario calls for spotting pre-disposition to Alzheimer's disease via genetics. Gene testing. Find out before it happens.

These numbers in this research are startling.
Researchers followed 52 individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) over a period of six years. Twenty-three participants progressed to Alzheimer’s disease.

MRI Scans Show Structural Brain Changes in People at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Study suggests an early marker for dementia may help identify candidates for possible early treatment

New results from a study by neuroscientists at Rush University Medical Center suggest that people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease exhibit a specific structural change in the brain that can be visualized by brain imaging. The findings may help identify those who would most benefit from early intervention.

The study was presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting for the Society of Neuroscience in San Diego, Calif., on Wednesday, November 17.
“One of the main challenges in the field of Alzheimer’s disease is identifying individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease so that therapeutic interventions developed in the future can be given at the earliest stage before symptoms begin to appear,” said Sarah George, a graduate student who co-authored the study with Leyla deToledo-Morrell, PhD, director of the graduate program in neuroscience at Rush University Medical Center and professor of neurological sciences at the Graduate College of Rush University.
“Our study has found that structural imaging techniques can be used to identify those at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease,” said deToledo-Morrell.
For the study, experts from Rush followed individuals with mild cognitive impairment, which is thought to be a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Those with mild cognitive impairment can exhibit memory decline known as amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

Researchers followed 52 individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment over a period of six years. Twenty-three participants progressed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Study participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screenings. The researchers used MRI to look for structural changes in the substantia innominata (SI), a region deep within the brain that sends chemical signals to the cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer that is largely responsible for reasoning, memory and other higher functions. Although no structural changes were found in the SI between the two groups, the MRI showed a thinning of the cortical areas that receive strong input from the SI in those who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“Since we were able to distinguish those who progressed to Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who remained stable, we believe that MRI techniques that examine patterns of structural alterations provide a sensitive biomarker for detecting risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said George.

Additional co-authors on the study include Elliott J. Mufson, PhD., professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center, and Dr. Raj C. Shah, director of the memory clinic at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center.




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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 2,011 articles with more than 200,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room