Journal of Alzheimers Disease supplement explores brain imaging research

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A new supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, “Imaging the Alzheimer Brain,” contains 31 papers that discuss the advances in imaging methodologies that are being used to understand, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Among the topics covered in the supplement are:

  • pathology and pathophysiological bases of AD;
  • structural and cerebral blood flow imaging; metabolism, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in vascular co-morbidity and AD;
  • current advances in functional MRI for detecting AD;
  • electromagnetic brain mapping; and
  • magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

"AD is now seen as a continuum that is influenced by factors early in life, including genetics and education," J. Wesson Ashford, MD, PhD, clinical professor and senior research scientist at the Stanford/VA Alzheimer Center in Palo Alto, Calif., and the supplement’s guest editor, said in a statement. "Conceptualizing the continuum of AD with advanced imaging technology will provide a greater understanding of the disease, and help advance diagnosis and the quest for prevention and treatment."

In one paper, “Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative: A Plan to Accelerate the Evaluation of Presymptomatic Treatments,” the authors proposed to evaluate investigational treatments in healthy people who are at the highest imminent risk of developing symptomatic AD based on their age and genetic background. The project would use brain imaging studies, cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and cognitive measures to evaluate AD-modifying treatments earlier than is otherwise possible and to determine the extent to which the treatment's brain imaging and other biomarker effects predict a clinical benefit, among other outcomes.

Another article, "Relationship Between CSF Biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease and Rates of Regional Cortical Thinning in ADNI Data," showed how investigators from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, the University of California and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, tested the association between rates of regional brain cortex thinning and reduced amyloid (AB1-42) and higher tau concentrations. Using data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, they found that these biomarkers were associated with increased rates of brain tissue loss, and that the patterns varied across the healthy elderly and the mildly cognitively impaired.

"Ultimately, the prospects for neuroimaging to enhance clinical care in AD are bright as researchers collaborate and clinicians become informed about innovations and advances," George Perry, PhD, editor-in-chief, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, and dean and professor, College of Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio, said in the statement.