Study shows that brain scan may identify Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear

Via the Alzheimer’s Society

Research published in Neurology (Wednesday, 24 August) suggests brain scan may reveal those at risk of Alzheimer’s by highlighting changes in the brain before people experience symptoms.

Researchers studied 311 people in their 70s and 80s with no cognitive problems. PET scans were used to look at amyloid plaques or tangles in the brain, which occur in Alzheimer’s. An MRI brain scan was used to study metabolites, or by-products created by normal brain processes.

1 in 3 participants had high levels of amyloid plaques, and they were also more likely to have abnormal levels of certain metabolites that are known to be altered in Alzheimer’s disease.

Kantarci et al ‘Magnetic resonance spectroscopy, ?-amyloid load, and cognition in a population-based sample of cognitively normal older adults’. Neurology August 24, 2011