MRI Technique Reveals Brain Connection Breakdown Specific to Alzheimer’s Disease

MRI Technique Reveals Brain Connection Breakdown Specific to Alzheimer’s Disease
MRI and Alzheimer'sRecently, a new study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) showed that in brains of patients affected with Alzheimer's disease, changes in brain connections can be visualized by Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Alzheimer's disease is currently estimated to affect approximately 5 million Americans and it is the leading cause of dementia in seniors. Preventive measures would allow detection of who is at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, such as those suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and intervene with appropriate therapeutics to delay the disease onset. While early detection was previously reported through detection of the protein beta amyloid, which accumulates in amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease patients’ brains, here the authors mapped brain connections from a structural point of view — a structural connectome. The team of researchers analyzed brain images from 102 patients who were part of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study. The patients were submitted to MRI -- specifically, a method called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) that was developed during the 1980s and allows non-invasive mapping of diffusion of molecules such as water in vivo. In this new study, the authors mapped how water diffused in the brain to determine the integrity of white matter tracts. The authors then correlated their imag
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