Tuesday , June 28 2022

MRI scans can predict the risk of dementia before the symptoms occur: Study


RI brain research can help predict that a person will develop dementia within the next three years before the symptoms of the disorder appear, the researchers found.

In a study, researchers at Washington University and the University of San Francisco in the US used brain scanning for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict dementia with an accuracy of 89%.

The findings suggest that physicians one day can use widely available tests to tell people their risk of developing dementia before the symptoms appear.

Right now it's hard to tell if an elderly person with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment is likely to develop dementia, said Cyrus A Raji, an assistant professor at the University of Washington.

We have shown that a single MRI scan can predict dementia, on average, 2.6 years before memory loss is clinically detectable, which could help doctors advise and care for their patients, "said Raji.

Although there are no drugs available yet to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease, identifying those at high risk of developing dementia over the next few years may still be beneficial, say the researchers.

People could make decisions about their financial and living arrangements while they still have control over their faculties.

The researchers analyzed MRI scans for physical signs of imminent cognitive decline.

They used a technique called tensor diffusion imaging to assess the health of the white matter of the brain, which includes the wires that allow different parts of the brain to talk to each other.

"Diffuse tensor imaging is a way of measuring the movement of water molecules along white matter tracts," Raji said.

"If water molecules do not move normally, it suggests the underlying damage to the white tracts that can underpin problems with knowledge," he said.

Using information from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative – a multisite collaboration that collects data, funds, and expertise to improve clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease – the researchers identified 10 people whose cognitive abilities dropped over a two-year period and fit them with age and sex with 10 people whose thinking skills have remained constant.

The average age of the individuals in both groups was 73. Then the researchers analyzed the MRI tensor diffusion tensors performed just before the two-year period for all 20 people.

Researchers have found that people who have suffered cognitive decline have significantly more signs of white matter deterioration.

Researchers repeated their analysis in a separate sample of 61 people, using a more refined measure of the integrity of white matter.

Through this new analysis, they were able to predict cognitive decline with an accuracy of 89% when looking at the entire brain. When researchers have focused on specific parts of the brain, most likely to show damage, the accuracy has increased to 95%.

We could say that people who have developed dementia have these differences in diffusion MRI compared to normal cognitive scanning, whose memory and thinking skills have remained intact, "Raji said.

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