Could MRI be 1 of a 2-part, noninvasive test for Alzheimer's?

Researchers have understood amyloid-Beta and tau proteins in the brain are early warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease. Atrophy in the hippocampus is another physical change in such patients.

But a recent study examined the link between brain volume and protein deposits. Scientists—led by Christine Tardif, PhD, a member of the MRI core of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre in Montreal, Canada—examined 88 patients with a family history of Alzheimer’s.

The team used MRI to measure brain volume and extracted cerebrospinal fluid to test for amyloid-Beta and tau proteins.

“This technique demonstrates significant promise in identifying those at greatest risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease without using an invasive procedure like a lumbar puncture, which can be stressful for patients,” said Mallar Chakravarty, the study’s senior author and computational neuroscientist in the Cerebral Imaging Centre at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

Findings were published in the January issue of Human Brain Mapping.

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