Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Biological marker for Alzheimer’s holds promise for earlier diagnosis and treatment

Researchers at Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario have found clear evidence that increases in the size of the brain ventricles are directly associated with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ventricles are fluid-filled cavities in the brain. The research, led by Robarts scientist Robert Bartha, shows the volume of the brain ventricles expands as surrounding tissue dies. The research was published online today in the neurology journal Brain.

Currently, diagnosis for Alzheimer’s relies on neuro-cognitive assessments, such as testing of memory, ability to problem solve, count, etc. Definitive diagnosis is not possible until after death when an autopsy can reveal the presence of amyloid plaques and ‘tangles’ in brain tissue.

Previous research has shown the link between ventricle size and Alzheimer’s over longer time intervals. The research conducted at Robarts Research Institute shows that ventricle size increases with mild cognitive impairment before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and continues to increase with the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease after only six months.

“These findings mean that, in the future, by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure changes in brain ventricle size, we may be able to provide earlier and more definitive diagnosis,” said Bartha, who is also an Associate Professor in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in Medical Biophysics. “In addition, as new treatments for Alzheimer’s are developed, the measurement of brain ventricle changes can also be used to quickly determine the effectiveness of the treatment.”

The research also showed that Alzheimer’s patients with a genetic marker for Alzheimer’s disease exhibited faster expansion in ventricle volume.

The research was performed by utilizing MRI scans from individuals from across North America. Graduate student Sean Nestor, a coauthor, examined 500 data sets of individuals at baseline and six months later. The images were obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a large multi-site trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the United States and the pharmaceutical industry. The project includes an online database of imaging information gathered from 800 people at more than 50 sites across the U.S. and Canada. The images are MRIs of individuals with no cognitive impairment, those with mild cognitive impairment and people with Alzheimer’s disease. The database can be used by any primary researcher.

One of the ADNI sites is at London’s Lawson Health Research Institute, and is led by Dr. Michael Borrie, a co-investigator on the research. Dr. Borrie is Medical Director of the Aging Brain and Memory Clinic and Geriatric Clinical Trials Group at Parkwood Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, a Lawson researcher and Chair of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Examination of the MRIs was made possible by using software developed by Cedara Software, the OEM division of Merge Healthcare. In the past, researchers would have to manually or semi-automatically trace the ventricles in many brain images, each showing a “slice” of the brain. The Merge OEM software team, led by Vittorio Accomazzi, a coauthor in the research, worked closely with the researchers to refine the software to allow the processing of large volumes of data very quickly.

"This is one of the first major research studies published using data from ADNI", said Borrie, "but there will be many more neuroimaging and biomarker discoveries to arise from the ADNI project. It is a tremendous opportunity for researchers anywhere in the world to use the ADNI databases, to collaborate and share their findings in a new way that will move Alzheimer's disease research forward more quickly, objectively and effectively. Already we are building new international collaborations, arising from ADNI, that we could not have even imagined."

For more information contact: Kathy Wallis, Media Relations Officer - 519-661-2111 ext 81136,

Kathy Wallis | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>