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ICAD: New Technology Can Detect Early Alzheimer's

Animal and human studies show that techniques identify plaque and tangle pathology

MONDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- New magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology shows promise in the early detection of Alzheimer's disease, according to research presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, held July 26-31 in Chicago.

In one study, John Ronald of the Robarts Research Institute and University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, and colleagues used a 3T MR scanner to scan rabbits with a model of Alzheimer's disease. The images showed distinct signal voids throughout the brains -- primarily in the hippocampus and adjacent cortex, striatum and thalamus -- which correlated to small clusters of beta-amyloid-42-positive plaques.

In a second study, Prashanthi Vemuri, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues developed an algorithm that extracts atrophy information from individual patients' 3D MRI scans and assigns a structural abnormality index score to the scan. They found that the information accurately captured the severity of Alzheimer's tangle pathology. A third study, by Christos Davatzikos, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues, found that a high-dimensional pattern classifier could identify the longitudinal progression of brain-atrophy patterns in normal and cognitively impaired elderly patients.

"As we search for ways to identify Alzheimer's early, these MRI studies show that researchers are moving closer to accurate early detection of the disease," William Thies, Ph.D., vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association, said in a statement.

Several authors in the second study report financial relationships to the pharmaceutical industry.

Ronald Abstract
Vemuri Abstract
Davatzikos Abstract

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