Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Imaging test may identify biomarker of Alzheimer's disease

27.05.2015

Degeneration of the white matter of the brain may be an early marker of specific types of Alzheimer's disease (AD), including early-onset AD, according to results of a new study published in the journal Radiology.

"Alzheimer's is a gray matter disease," said Federica Agosta, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study conducted at the Neuroimaging Research Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy. "However, white matter damage has a central role in how the disease strikes and progresses."


MR images of A, common and B, syndrome-specific patterns of cortical atrophy across the Alzheimer's disease variants.

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

AD is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. The disease is characterized by abnormal deposits of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain and a loss of neurons that causes brain tissue to shrink over time. Where or how the disease begins is not completely understood.

Study leader Massimo Filippi, M.D., and his team of researchers used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to assess the white matter tracts in 53 patients with three types of AD: early-onset AD and two atypical types of AD called focal syndromes because they affect localized parts of the brain.

Unlike late-onset AD that occurs after age 65 and is characterized primarily by progressive memory loss, patients with early-onset AD have impairment in several regions of the brain, including deficits in executive functioning and visuospatial abilities. Focal AD syndromes may cause visual disturbances or language deficits.

DTI, a specialized magnetic resonance imaging technique that uses the movement of water molecules to characterize the microstructure of biological tissues, is highly sensitive to white matter degeneration.

"Our goal was to use DTI to identify similarities and differences in white tract damage across the AD spectrum and in relation to patterns of cortical atrophy," Dr. Agosta said.

The researchers' analysis of the images revealed that all of the patients had extensive white matter damage, and showed regional gray matter damage.

"The white matter damage in patients with focal AD syndromes was much more severe and widespread than expected and cannot be explained solely by gray matter atrophy which was more localized," Dr. Agosta said.

She said the team's findings support the theory that AD pathology may travel along white matter fibers from one region of the brain to another.

"In early-onset AD and atypical AD forms, white matter degeneration may be an early marker that precedes gray matter atrophy," Dr. Agosta said. "DTI has the potential to assess the extensive disorganization of brain networks in focal AD even before overt cognitive deficits become apparent."

Dr. Agosta said the study's findings also underline the importance of identifying and diagnosing patients with early onset and focal AD syndromes.

"Because there is not much structural damage in the early stages of focal Alzheimer's disease, there is a risk that patients may be misdiagnosed and excluded from clinical trials," she said.

###

"White Matter Degeneration in Atypical Alzheimer Disease." Collaborating with Drs. Filippi and Agosta were Francesca Caso, M.D., Daniele Mattavelli, M.D., Raffaella Migliaccio, M.D., Ph.D., Elisa Canu, Ph.D., Giuseppe Magnani, M.D., Alessandra Marcone, M.D., Massimiliano Copetti, Ph.D., Monica Falautano, M.D., Giancarlo Comi, M.D., Andrea Falini, 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 54,000 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. (RSNA.org)

For patient-friendly information on MRI of the brain, visit RadiologyInfo.org.

Media Contact

Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762

 @rsna

http://www.rsna.org 

Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>