Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MRI technique detects evidence of cognitive decline before symptoms appear

07.10.2014

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique can detect signs of cognitive decline in the brain even before symptoms appear, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The technique has the potential to serve as a biomarker in very early diagnosis of preclinical dementia.

The World Health Organization estimates that dementia affects more than 35 million people worldwide, a number expected to more than double by 2030. Problems in the brain related to dementia, such as reduced blood flow, might be present for years but are not evident because of cognitive reserve, a phenomenon where other parts of the brain compensate for deficits in one area. Early detection of cognitive decline is critical, because treatments for Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, are most effective in this early phase.


This image shows brain perfusion. Red indicates low perfusion, yellow indicates high perfusion. Overall, the brain perfusion is similar between all three groups. The most prominent difference is present in the posterior cingulate cortex (indicated by the arrow), a region close to the midline in the superior and posterior part of the brain. Control participants who remain stable have higher perfusion as compared to deteriorating controls and MCI.

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

Researchers recently studied arterial spin labeling (ASL), a promising MRI technique that doesn't require injection of a contrast agent. ASL measures brain perfusion, or penetration of blood into the tissue.

"ASL MRI is simple to perform, doesn't require special equipment and only adds a few minutes to the exam," said study author Sven Haller, M.D., from the University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland.

The study group included 148 healthy elderly participants and 65 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The participants underwent brain MRI and a neuropsychological assessment, a common battery of tests used to determine cognitive ability.

Of the 148 healthy individuals, 75 remained stable, while 73 deteriorated cognitively at 18 months clinical follow-up. Those who deteriorated had shown reduced perfusion at their baseline ASL MRI exams, particularly in the posterior cingulate cortex, an area in the middle of the brain that is associated with the default mode network, the neural network that is active when the brain is not concentrating on a specific task. Declines in this network are seen in MCI patients and are more pronounced in those with Alzheimer's disease.

The pattern of reduced perfusion in the brains of healthy individuals who went on to develop cognitive deficits was similar to that of patients with MCI.

"There is a known close link between neural activity and brain perfusion in the posterior cingulate cortex," Dr. Haller said. "Less perfusion indicates decreased neural activity."

The results suggest that individuals with decreased perfusion detected with ASL MRI may temporarily maintain their cognitive status through the mobilization of their cognitive reserve, but will eventually develop subtle cognitive deficits.

Previous research done with positron emission tomography (PET), the current gold standard for brain metabolism imaging, found that patients with Alzheimer's disease had reduced metabolism in the same area of the brain where the perfusion abnormalities were found using ASL MRI. This points to a close link between brain metabolism and perfusion, according to Dr. Haller.

ASL MRI has potential as a standalone test or as an adjunct to PET for dementia screening, Dr. Haller said. While PET can identify markers of Alzheimer's disease in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid, it exposes the patient to radiation. ASL does not expose the patient to radiation and is easy to perform in routine clinical settings.

"ASL might replace the classic yet unspecific fluordesoxyglucose PET that measures brain metabolism. Instead, PET could be done with the new and specific amyloid PET tracers," Dr. Haller said.

The results also support a role for ASL MRI as an alternative to neuropsychological testing.

The researchers plan to perform follow-up studies on the patient group to learn more about ASL and long-term cognitive changes.

###

"Arterial Spin Labeling May Contribute to the Prediction of Cognitive Deterioration in Healthy Elderly Individuals." Collaborating with Dr. Haller were Aikaterini Xekardaki, M.D., Cristelle Rodriguez, M.Sc., Marie-Louise Montandon, Ph.D., Simona Toma, M.Sc., Eline Tombeur, B.Sc., François R. Herrmann, M.D., Dina Zekry, M.D., Karl-Olof Lovblad, M.D., Frederik Barkhof, M.D., and Panteleimon Giannakopoulos, 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.

RSNA is an association of more than 53,000 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.

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

Linda Brooks | Eurek Alert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>