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LA JOLLA, Calif., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A ground-breaking paper published online today (Heister, Brewer, Magda, Blennow & McEvoy, for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, 2011, Predicting MCI Outcome with Clinically Available MRI and CSF Biomarkers, Neurology, epub ahead of print) compared the ability of three clinically available measures to predict the onset of dementia: i) degree of memory impairment,  ii) degree of atrophy in the medial temporal lobe of the brain as measured by NeuroQuant®, and iii) levels of peptides in cerebrospinal fluid that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.  It reported that quantitative atrophy measurement significantly improved prediction of future dementia onset in elderly individuals with memory complaints.

According to Dr. Linda McEvoy, from the Department of Radiology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and senior author of the report: "When these risk factors were examined separately, individuals positive on any one risk factor showed higher risk of developing dementia than individuals testing negative on that factor. More importantly, the joint presence of any two risk factors substantially increased risk. In fact 85% of patients with both higher memory impairment and medial temporal atrophy became demented within 3 years, whereas only 5% of those testing negative on both criteria did. Of the three measures, the presence of atrophy predicted the fastest rate of decline."

Dr. James Brewer, another study co-author who is a neurologist and faculty member at UCSD, indicated that: "Ongoing heart damage can be detected with physical markers, but no such measure has existed for brain degeneration. This paper shows that we now can look directly at the brain using MRI and NeuroQuant® to determine if critical structures are degenerating. At UCSD, we have been using this tool clinically for more than three years and it has fu

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