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 New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>