Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers use MRI to predict Alzheimer's disease

20.11.2018

MRI brain scans perform better than common clinical tests at predicting which people will go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills. The disease affects 5.5 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.


This image shows areas of reduced fractional anisotropy -- a diffusion MR imaging marker of white matter damage -- in 20 persons who develop Alzheimer's dementia compared to 20 who remain cognitively normal. These areas show up as blue-colored voxel overlaid onto a white matter skeleton (yellow colors) overlaid onto a standard template brain.

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

"Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in the world and is expected to increase globally, and especially in the U.S., as the population gets older," said the study's lead author Cyrus A. Raji, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"As we develop new drug therapies and study them in trials, we need to identify individuals who will benefit from these drugs earlier in the course of the disease."

Common predictive models like standardized questionnaires used to measure cognition and tests for the APOE4 gene, a gene variant associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, have limitations and--with accuracy rates of about 70-71 percent--fail to identify many people who go on to develop the disease.

MRI exams of the brain using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are a promising option for analysis of dementia risk. These exams assess the condition of the brain's white matter.

"With DTI you look at the movement of water molecules along white matter tracts, the telephone cables of brain," Dr. Raji said. "When these tracts are not well connected, cognitive problems can result."

DTI provides different metrics of white matter integrity, including fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of how well water molecules move along white matter tracts. A higher FA value indicates that water is moving in a more orderly fashion along the tracts, while a lower value means that the tracts are likely damaged.

For the new study, Dr. Raji and colleagues set out to quantify differences in DTI in people who decline from normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's dementia compared to controls who do not develop dementia.

They performed brain DTI exams on 61 people drawn from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a major, multisite study focusing on the progression of the disease.

About half of the patients went on to develop Alzheimer's disease, and DTI identified quantifiable differences in the brains of those patients. People who developed the disease had lower FA compared with those who didn't, suggesting white matter damage. They also had statistically significant reductions in certain frontal white matter tracts.

"DTI performed very well compared to other clinical measures," Dr. Raji said. "Using FA values and other associated global metrics of white matter integrity, we were able to achieve 89 percent accuracy in predicting who would go onto develop Alzheimer's disease. The Mini-mental State Examination and APOE4 gene testing have accuracy rates of about 70 - 71 percent."

The researchers conducted a more detailed analysis of the white matter tracts in about 40 of the study participants. Among those patients, the technique achieved 95 percent accuracy, Dr. Raji said.

While more work is needed before the approach is ready for routine clinical use, the results point to a future role for DTI in the diagnostic workup of people at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Many people already receive MRI as part of their care, so DTI could add significant value to the exam without substantially increasing the costs, Dr. Raji said.

Perhaps most importantly, MRI measures of white matter integrity could speed interventions that slow the course of the disease or even delay its onset.

"Research shows that Alzheimer's disease risk can be reduced by addressing modifiable risk factors like obesity and diabetes," Dr. Raji said. "With early detection, we can enact lifestyle interventions and enlist volunteers into drug trials earlier."

###

Co-authors are Maxwell B. Wang, B.S., Erin Moe, B.A., Eva M. Palacios and Pratik Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D.

Note: Copies of RSNA 2018 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press18 beginning Monday, Nov. 26.

RSNA is an association of over 54,000 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. (RSNA.org)

Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the published abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please contact us.

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

Media Contact

Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762

 @rsna

http://www.rsna.org 

Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Powering a pacemaker with a patient's heartbeat
20.02.2019 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Novel coating enables hip implants to grow in better and prevents aseptic inflammation
20.02.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

Im Focus: Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

Researchers at IST Austria find new property of important physical model. Results published in PNAS

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New therapeutic approach to combat African sleeping sickness

20.02.2019 | Life Sciences

Powering a pacemaker with a patient's heartbeat

20.02.2019 | Medical Engineering

The holy grail of nanowire production

20.02.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>