Brain changes evident in scans before memory, cognitive decline
From the WashU School of Medicine News…
One day, MRI brain scans may help predict whether older people will develop dementia, new research suggests.
In a small study, MRI brain scans predicted with 89 percent accuracy who would go on to develop dementia within three years, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California San Francisco.
The findings, presented Sunday, Nov. 25 at the Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago, suggest that doctors may one day be able to use widely available tests to tell people their risk of developing dementia before symptoms arise.
“Right now it’s hard to say whether an older person with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment is likely to develop dementia,” said lead author Cyrus A. Raji, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of radiology at Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. “We showed 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.”
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills. The disease affects 5.5 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).