Advanced Brain Imaging Technology Used For Early Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Thursday, May 10, 2012


 Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a major neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. New and accurate techniques for early diagnosis are critical. Pravat K. Mandal, PhD, and his colleagues have developed a completely non-invasive brain imaging technique to measure specific brain chemical changes. This provides a signature of the early stages of AD from the hippocampal region of the brain. 
D
r. Pravat K. Mandal and colleagues have developed a non-invasive brain imaging technique that measures specific brain chemical changes in the hippocampus, providing a signature of the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

The study has been reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Dr. Mandal and his co-investigators studied the brains of normal controls, AD patients, and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using multi-voxel 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) imaging, along with an advanced analytical tool, to assess brain chemistry in the hippocampal regions. 

They observed during the course of their study that the left hippocampus becomes alkaline in AD patients, which is in contrast to the normal aging process in which the brain tends to be more acidic.
This diagnostic technique requires no blood work or radiation, and can be conducted in less than fifteen minutes, says Dr. Mandal, who is associated with the National Brain Research Center, Gurgaon, India, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “It may offer hope to Alzheimer’s disease patients and their families.”


Dr. Mandal and his colleagues also identified four brain chemicals that change significantly in pre-Alzheimer and Alzheimer disease patients compared to normal subjects: phosphomonoester (PME), the building block of neuronal membrane; phosphodiester (PDE), the membrane degradation product; phosphocreatine (PCr), stored energy for brain functioning; and adenosine triphosphate (-ATP), the source of brain energy.
Spectrum obtained from the left and the right hippocampus regions in AD subjects
Image Source: Pravat K. Mandal, et al./Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
The level of PME is significantly decreased in the left hippocampal areas of these patients, and the levels of PDE, PCr, and -ATP are increased. Also in the left hippocampus, there is an increase in pH to the alkaline range, along with statistically significant increases in PDE, PCr, and -ATP and decreases in PDE, notes Dr. Mandal.
The researchers plan to conduct longitudinal studies with Alzheimer and Parkinson patients with larger sample sizes to investigate specificity of their test. “It is our hope that such clinical research, using state-of-the-art technology, may give new hope to cognitively impaired patients for an earlier and more predictable AD diagnosis,” said Dr. Mandal.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a major neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. New and accurate techniques for early diagnosis are critical.

SOURCE  Eurekalert

By 33rd SquareSubscribe to 33rd Square