"With increasing longevity among the population, the incidence of AD is expected to rise rapidly, creating a great burden not only for patients and their families, but also for society," said Min-Ying Su, Ph.D., author and associate professor in the Department of Radiological Sciences & the Tu and Yuen Center for Functional Onco-Imaging at the University of California at Irvine. "Our methods may enable earlier diagnosis of AD, allowing earlier intervention to slow down disease progression," she added.
As AD progresses, cell membranes in the brain may be damaged, allowing water molecules to move throughout the brain more freely. This phenomenon can disrupt neural processes and cause neuron cells to die, leading to brain atrophy. This process of cellular damage causes an increase in the "apparent diffusion coefficient," or ADC, which is a measurement used to study the distribution of water in the brain.
Thirteen elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were enrolled in Dr. Su's study. Patients with MCI are at high risk for developing AD. These 13 patients and 13 elderly control subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and performed recall tasks. On MRI images, ADC values were measured in gray- and white-matter regions by using the computer-aided analysis program. Findings were compared between patients and healthy controls.
The computerized mapping technique allowed researchers to evaluate ADC values in large regions of the brain. In patients with MCI, researchers identified regions of brain atrophy and increased water content in white-matter areas. Additionally, high ADC values were found in the hippocampus, temporal lobe gray matter and the corpus callosum, which connects the two cerebral hemispheres. The ADC values in the hippocampus were significantly correlated with worse memory performance scores.
"The results have supported our objective to develop a computer-based analysis technique that can analyze different regions in the entire brain, to provide a comprehensive evaluation of cellular changes," Dr. Su said.
Until now, ADC values from gray matter in various lobes of the brain have not been reported, due to the difficulty of obtaining measurements in these regions. This new technology may allow researchers to learn more about how AD develops in the brain and to cultivate better treatment strategies for patients based on their individual cognitive needs.
"Patients with MCI who are very likely to progress to AD may start early treatment interventions, while patients who may remain stable with MCI can be spared from treatment and the associated side effects," added Dr. Su. "The diagnostic accuracy in identifying AD needs to be greatly improved."
AD is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 4.5 million Americans. Patients diagnosed with AD have an average life expectancy of eight years after initial symptoms appear.
Heather Babiar | EurekAlert!
A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes
28.03.2017 | Technische Universität Braunschweig
3-D visualization of the pancreas -- new tool in diabetes research
15.03.2017 | Umea University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences