Brain scan predicts memory loss

Research published today in Neurology suggests that a new type of brain scan, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), could predict memory performance in healthy people. Further research into the technique could lead to better diagnosis of Alzheimer’s diseas

Posted on 7th January 2010

 Further research into the technique could lead to better diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The researchers studied 76 healthy people and showed that specific DTI scan measurements could predict performance on verbal recall and spatial memory tests. It is uncertain whether poorer performance was the very early stage of Alzheimer’s or a normal part of ageing; only further long term studies will tell.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said:

“This study provides new insight into how and why people lose their memory and, with further development, it could help doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is vital as it is when future treatments are most likely to be effective and it also gives people time to plan and prepare for the future.”

“700,000 people in the UK have dementia, a number forecast to double in a generation. With enough investment in research, dementia can be defeated.”

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