MRI Brain Scans May Lead to Early Alzheimer’s Diagnoses

December 30, 2008
Keli Rising

How many times over the last year was an article published about new treatments for and possible cures of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and early prevention methods?

How many times over the last year was an article published about new treatments for and possible cures of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and early prevention methods? This was discussed in an online article posted on MDNGLive in mid-July, “The Elusive Alzheimer’s Cure.” Interestingly enough, another article was published a couple of weeks ago featuring study results suggesting that MRI brain scans should be an integral part of screening for AD.

The study was conducted by the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) , during which researchers found that MRI scans used to “detect shrinkage in specific regions of the mid-brain attacked by Alzheimer’s disease accurately diagnose the neurodegenerative disease” prior to symptoms affecting a person’s functioning. With the results published in a recent issue of Neurology, it provides further evidence of how important MRI scans are in regards to diagnosing AD.

During the study, researchers compared the MRI brain scans of 260 people with probable AD, varying degrees of mild memory problems, or no tell-tale signs of memory loss. The Florida ADRC “used a new visual rating system to evaluate the severity of shrinkage, or atrophy, in the brain’s medial temporal lobe” and found that the MRI-facilitated test “accurately distinguished each group from the other and correlated with the types of memory problems most frequently caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”

Current, ongoing clinical trials are evaluating new treatments that may be used to help prevent mild memory loss from “advancing to full-blown dementia if administered early enough,” and these study results give a reason for researchers to be optimistic. Based on the findings lead author Ranjan Duara, MD, medical director of the Wien Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said that “the criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease should include MRI scans... By incorporating MRIs into the assessment of patients with memory problems, early diagnosis can be standardized and done far more accurately.”

Related HCPLive Articles:

Automated MRI Technique Makes Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Faster

Additional Reading:

Current and Future Uses of MRI in Alzheimer's Diagnosis

MRI Aids in Diagnosis of Early Alzheimer's Disease

MRI May Prove Powerful Tool in Predicting Development of Alzheimer's Disease