With no known treatment to alter its course, AD exacts an enormous toll on society. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease today, and the cumulative costs for care could top $20 trillion over the next four decades.
As a result, there is growing interest in tests that could identify individuals at risk for AD at an early stage, when memory preservation may still be possible. Brain volume measurement with MRI is one promising area of research.
"One of the things that made our study novel was that we looked at patients who were cognitively normal at baseline, rather than people with mild cognitive impairment," said lead author Gloria C. Chiang, M.D., radiology resident at University of California San Francisco.
For the study, researchers looked at whether automated brain volume measurements on MRI could accurately predict future memory decline in elderly people with normal cognitive ability. They assessed 149 participants with an initial baseline MRI scan and a neuropsychological assessment.
Follow-up exams two years later showed that 25 of the 149 initially cognitively normal participants, or 17 percent, had memory decline.
While previous research has focused on the medial temporal lobe of the brain, which is strongly associated with memory, researchers looked at volume changes across a number of regions in the temporal and parietal lobes. The parietal lobe is primarily associated with the processing of sensory information and is involved in a number of cognitive and language processes.
The predictive accuracy of the classification model increased as the number of brain regions included in the model increased. Models that took into account several areas of both the temporal and parietal lobes had an 81 percent accuracy rate in discriminating between cognitively normal people with and without memory decline.
The findings illuminated how the interaction between these brain regions may play a key role in memory loss.
"Previous models have included regions of the brain as isolated variables," Dr. Chiang said. "Our study showed that volume loss in multiple regions that may be interconnected had a greater impact on memory decline. We found that automated temporal and parietal volumes identified those at risk for future memory decline with high accuracy."
The study represents another step in the process of incorporating imaging into the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer's disease, according to Dr. Chiang.
"We can see so much with MRI, but right now there's no way to definitively diagnose AD with imaging," she said. "The goal in the future is to have a screening device to monitor cognitive decline and diagnose AD."
"Identifying Cognitively Healthy Elderly Individuals with Subsequent Memory Decline by Using Automated MR Temporoparietal Volumes." Collaborating with Dr. Chiang were Philip S. Insel, M.S., Duygu Tosun, Ph.D., Norbert Schuff, Ph.D., Diana Truran-Sacrey, B.A., Sky Raptentsetsang, B.S., Clifford R. Jack Jr., M.D., Michael W. Weiner, M.D.
Radiology is edited by Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. (http://radiology.rsna.org/)
RSNA is an association of more than 46,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)
For patient-friendly information on MRI, visit RadiologyInfo.org.
Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!
Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology
Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences