Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify novel method of distinguishing Alzheimer’s disease from other types of dementia

05.05.2004


Nearly a century after Alzheimer’s disease was first identified, there has been no foolproof way to diagnose the illness in a living patient. But a new method used by doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas is almost 100 percent accurate when combined with clinical assessment.



Testing blood flow in a specific region of the brain may boost the degree of diagnostic certainty in difficult cases from 90 percent to almost 100 percent, said Dr. Frederick Bonte, director of the Nuclear Medicine Center at UT Southwestern.

A study appearing today in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) can be used to identify a characteristic sign of Alzheimer’s disease and distinguish it from a group of illnesses known as frontotemporal diseases, which comprise the second-leading cause of dementia in the elderly.


SPECT is a radioisotope test that produces a three-dimensional picture of the amount of blood flowing in certain regions of the brain. People with Alzheimer’s have reduced blood flow in some areas of the brain, one of which is called the posterior cingulate cortex. This region helps process information from the parietal cortex and the hippocampus, which are responsible for storing vocabulary words and geographical information.

"This is the first publication using the posterior cingulate to rule out frontotemporal disease," said Dr. Bonte, the study’s lead author. "If the blood flow is significantly reduced to that structure, you have identified Alzheimer’s, and you have simultaneously excluded the frontotemporal dementias.

"The dementing diseases are becoming a very important socio-economic problem, in addition to being a group of scientific problems of incredible difficulty. The prospects are quite hopeful now that effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease – and possibly a cure – will emerge in the not-too-distant future. This makes it even more important to find out who really has Alzheimer’s disease and is, therefore, eligible for treatment and who has one of the other dementing diseases, for whom these new treatments would be ineffective."

In the study, SPECT was used to measure brain blood flow in the posterior cingulate cortex of 60 people, aged 54 to 92. Twenty of the patients were suspected of having Alzheimer’s disease; 20 were suspected of having frontotemporal disease; and the remaining 20 were normal volunteers with no evidence of dementia.

Of those suspected of having Alzheimer’s, 16 exhibited significant blood-flow reductions in the posterior cingulate cortex. Of the 20 patients suspected of having frontotemoporal disease, only one showed signs of reduced blood flow in the region. That patient was later re-evaluated and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Linda Hynan, a UT Southwestern biostatistician and assistant professor and co-author of the paper, said this study shows that patients with poor blood flow in the posterior cingulate cortex are 16 times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than one of the frontotemporal dementias.

Evidence of shrinkage in brain structures such as the hippocampus and parietal cortex is also central to diagnosing Alzheimer’s. This shrinkage, or atrophy, can be seen on a standard MRI. Still, autopsy remains the definitive diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease affects 4 million Americans and accounts for 70 percent of dementia-causing diseases. Symptoms may include memory loss, personality changes, trouble finding words and feeling lost in familiar places. Ten percent to 15 percent of adults 65 or older in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Bonte, who founded the medical center’s Department of Radiology in 1956, has been involved in research and clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for 24 years.


UT Southwestern’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center is one of 29 such centers nationwide supported by the National Institute on Aging.

Other UT Southwestern authors included Thomas Harris, a senior research scientist in radiology, and Celeste Roney, a graduate student.

This study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Amersham Health.

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept37326/files/37813.html

Rachel Horton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swmed.edu/
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept37326/files/37813.html

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 >>>