Potential Exists to Possibly Prevent Disease Before Onset Symptoms Appear, Suggests Report in February’s Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Using both brain function (PET) and anatomical structure (MR) imaging studies, Italian researchers—within the context of an Italian-British collaboration—discovered that degenerative and dysfunctional events occur in individuals many years before the onset of Huntington’s disease—particularly in the brain’s white matter—an area not previously considered primarily involved with the disease. In fact, the brain’s white matter “progressively reduced” as individuals approached the first disease symptoms, according to a study published in February’s Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
“Our observations—made by analyzing the results of the largest group of subjects studied to date—may suggest new methodologies and drug trials for therapy,” said Ferdinando Squitieri, M.D., Ph.D., who works in the Neurogenetics Unit and Centre for Rare Diseases of IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy. “It is possible to approach the disease at the presymptomatic stage by monitoring the brain tissue volumes and the basal ganglia and cortex dysfunction. If so, we may be able to prevent Huntington’s disease before onset symptoms by using proper drugs,” added the co-author of “Brain White-Matter Volume Loss and Glucose Hypometabolism Precede the Clinical Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease.”
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