'Brain map' could help spot Alzheimer's

09 July 2015 09:37

Alzheimer's need not be a barrier to going on holiday

Alzheimer's need not be a barrier to going on holiday

Researchers believe that the key to early detection of Alzheimer's disease could rest in a technological map of older people's brains.

Edinburgh University scientists think such digital atlases could also help diagnose other neuro-degenerative conditions among the old.

They built a complex map of the brain, employing MRI scans which they took from over 130 healthy over-60 year-olds.

Currently, such MRI maps are centred around the brains of much younger people, which are unrepresentative of usual changes that occur over the years.

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How would the new MRI scans work?

Diagnoses would be helped by doctors comparing patient scans with those of healthy older brains, the researchers claimed.

They said that the maps could locate alterations in the brain structures of patients, which could be tell-tale indications of them having Alzheimer's.

MRI maps could render it less difficult to spot tissue loss in the brain's medial temporal lobe, which is an important early sign of the illness's onset.

So what happens next?

More evidence is needed, s o this means the collection of more information.

It is hoped huge image banks could be created, so that brain maps can be both reliable and useful.

Scientists eventually want to employ the data to help diagnose Alzheimer's early on. This could also be applied to other brain diseases, which develop at all stages of a lifespan.

What the experts say

David Alexander Dickie's reaction to the opening findings was "absolutely delighted".

Dr Dickie, the report's first author, said that no other defence against Alzheimer's and other brain diseases is better than early detection.

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