"We found that the extent and distribution of regional gray matter volume loss in the brain was strongly influenced by gender," said lead researcher Maria Vittoria Spampinato, M.D., associate professor of radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, 5.4 million Americans have AD, the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Currently, there is no cure for AD, which lends urgency to research efforts designed to better understand, diagnose and treat this devastating illness.
"There is a strong interest in using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess brain atrophy with the purpose of monitoring dementia progression noninvasively and to aid in understanding which factors can influence brain atrophy progression and distribution in the Alzheimer's brain," Dr. Spampinato said.
In the study, Dr. Spampinato and colleagues analyzed data on 109 patients, including 60 men and 49 women (mean age 77), who participated in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a major study that followed hundreds of cognitively healthy individuals and individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD over a period of five years.
During the five-year period, each of the 109 patients progressed from amnestic MCI (in which the patient suffers memory loss but maintains cognitive function) to AD. Using MR images of the patients' brains taken when they were diagnosed with AD and 12 months before and after the diagnosis, the researchers created brain maps that illustrated gray matter changes.
The brain maps revealed that compared to male patients, the women had greater atrophy in gray matter 12 months prior to their AD diagnosis and at the time of their diagnosis. The brain maps also showed that the men and women in the study lost gray matter volume in different areas of the brain as their disease progressed from MCI to AD.
"The female patients in our study initially had more gray matter atrophy than the male patients but over time, the men caught up," Dr. Spampinato said. "In the men, the disease developed more aggressively in a shorter period of time."
Dr. Spampinato said the gender differences in atrophy patterns have important implications for the development of therapies for MCI and AD.
"These differences should be taken into consideration when testing new drugs in clinical trials," she said. "Knowing the difference between the male and female patterns of atrophy will help researchers better decipher a patient's response to drug therapy."
Coauthors are Zoran Rumboldt, M.D., Markus Weininger, M.D., Vavro Hrvoje, M.D., Karen Patrick, M.D., and Ryan O'Neal Parker, Ph.D.
Note: Copies of RSNA 2012 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press12 beginning Monday, Nov. 26.
RSNA is an association of more than 50,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists, promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill.
Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the published abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA Newsroom at 1-312-949-3233.
For patient-friendly information on MRI of the brain, visit RadiologyInfo.org.
More articles from Life Sciences:
New insights into the immune system of the gastrointestinal tract
09.12.2013 | Helmholtz Zentrum München
Vibrational Molecular Pathology
09.12.2013 | Journal of Biophotonics
In power electronics systems bonded connections create the central electrical connections between adjoining surfaces.
The quality of these bonded connections is one of the main factors that determines the reliability and availability of drive systems in electric vehicles, and hence constitutes a major design challenge for German auto manufacturers aiming to electrify their vehicles.
Now the partners participating in the RoBE (Robust Bonds in ...
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
09.12.2013 | Materials Sciences
09.12.2013 | Life Sciences
09.12.2013 | Studies and Analyses
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News