The £22million Centre houses amongst the world’s most advanced brain and body scanners, and its High Resolution Research Tomograph (HRRT) brain scanner is unique in the UK and one of only 14 worldwide. It is the highest resolution clinical PET camera in the world and, unlike conventional MRI and CT scanners, allows doctors and researchers to see how the brain functions and its metabolism at work.
After five years’ development, the Centre’s team has now achieved the stringent regulatory standards necessary to allow operational activities to begin. A 77 year-old former RAF pilot and air traffic controller from Bowden in Cheshire has volunteered to be the first patient through the brain scanner, as part of a study of early Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Researcher Stephen Carter of the School of Psychological Sciences is investigating the transition from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to early AD, as MCI is often considered a precursor of Alzheimer’s*.
He will examine the physiological factors and mental processes at work during this transition, and hopes to determine whether reduced consumption of glucose in the brain is more closely linked to cognitive impairment than the deposition of the protein amyloid, which many believe to be the cause of AD.
The high-tech scans will also allow him to assess whether changes in connectivity between the part of the brain responsible for memory - the medial temporal lobe - and associated areas correlate with these types of cognitive dysfunction.
He said, “It is of significant clinical importance to be able to detect the early changes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and thereby enable more accurate diagnosis, as by the time dementia is currently diagnosed significant and irreversible brain damage has typically already taken place.
“Early detection could identify possible candidates for future clinical drug trials before large-scale global damage has occurred, which is essential for beneficial effects.
“Combining our new-breed, high-resolution PET scanner with MRI scanning in a single research environment allows us to compare the brain functions of MCI and probable AD patients in a unique way. Our machine also allows us to accurately measure amyloid deposition, which is not possible with standard PET scanners.”
Co-supervisor Professor Alistair Burns of the University’s Division of Psychiatry said: “This research is particularly timely given the recent decision by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) not to make the drug Aricept available to patients with early Alzheimer’s Disease. This could result in the first judicial review against NICE which I hope will overturn this decision, and the earlier we’re able to diagnose the disease the quicker we’ll be able to take action against the irreversible damage it brings.”
The Centre’s Director Professor Karl Herholz said: “We’re thrilled to be carrying out this first patient brain scan, as it represents the whole essence of the WMIC; bridging the gap between advances in the lab and their application to help patients.
“With this series of experiments we hope that a convergent approach that investigates the multiple aspects of physiology and cognition at play in AD can be developed, which will enable early accurate diagnosis and distinguish MCI patients who will progress to full AD from those who will not.”
Jon Keighren | alfa
Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately
18.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
Potentially life-saving health monitor technology designed by Sussex University physicists
10.01.2018 | University of Sussex
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences