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 Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

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...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

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...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

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...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>