News | February 11, 2009

MRI Reveals Brain Atrophy Pattern Predicts Alzheimer’s

February 11, 2009 - Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify a pattern of regional brain atrophy in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that indicates a greater likelihood of progression to Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the online edition of Radiology.

"Previously, this pattern has been observed only after a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease," said the study's lead author, Linda K. McEvoy, Ph.D., assistant project scientist in the department of radiology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla. "Our results show that some individuals with MCI have the atrophy pattern characteristic of mild Alzheimer's disease, and these people are at higher risk of experiencing a faster rate of brain degeneration and a faster decline to dementia than individuals with MCI who do not show that atrophy pattern."

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease. One of the goals of modern neuroimaging is to help in early and accurate diagnosis, which can be challenging. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but when it is diagnosed early, drug treatment may help improve or stabilize patient symptoms.

In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cell death and tissue loss cause areas of the brain to atrophy. Structural MRI allows radiologists to visualize subtle anatomic changes in the brain that signal atrophy. MCI is associated with an increased risk of progression to Alzheimer's disease. Rates of progression vary. Some patients progress rapidly, while others remain stable for relatively long periods of time.

For the study, McEvoy and colleagues set out to determine if they could identify a pattern of regional atrophy characteristic of mild Alzheimer's disease in order to aid in the prediction of cognitive decline in patients with MCI.

In the study, the researchers analyzed brain MR images from 84 patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, 175 patients with MCI and 139 healthy controls, using with semi-automated, individually specific quantitative MRI methods. The results showed widespread cortical atrophy in some patients with MCI, involving all cortical areas except those involved with processing of primary motor and sensory information. However, most indicative of future cognitive decline were atrophy in parts of the medial and lateral temporal lobes and in the frontal lobes. This pattern was also present in the patients with mild Alzheimer's disease.

"Although these individuals are reporting problems mainly with memory, the atrophy involves more than just memory areas, extending into brain regions involved in planning, organization, problem solving and language," McEvoy said.

Follow-up data were available for 160 patients with MCI. The patients exhibiting atrophy in the brain regions described above showed significant one-year clinical decline and structural brain loss and were more likely to progress to a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. MCI patients without that pattern of atrophy remained stable after a year.

“Currently there are no treatments that will prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease, but information about risk of rapid decline may help patients with MCI and their families plan for the future,” McEvoy said.

Source: Radiology.

"Alzheimer Disease: Quantitative Structural Neuroimaging for Detection and Prediction of Clinical and Structural Changes in Mild Cognitive Impairment." Collaborating with Dr. McEvoy were Christine Fennema-Notestine, Ph.D., J. Cooper Roddey, Ph.D., Donald J. Hagler, Jr., Ph.D., Dominic Holland, Ph.D., David S. Karow, M.D., Christopher J. Pung, B.A., James B. Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., and Anders M. Dale, Ph.D. Journal attribution requested.

For more information: www.rsna.org/radiologyjnl

Related Content

Youth Football Changes Nerve Fibers in Brain

Statistically significant clusters (red-colored) showing group differences (Control vs. Football) in white matter strain along the primary (F1) and secondary (F2) fibers. While body of corpus callosum (BBC) showed relative shrinkage in Football group, the other clusters showed relative stretching of fibers. PCR: Posterior Corona Radiata, PLIC: Posterior Limb of Internal Capsule, SCR: Superior Corona Radiata, SLF: Superior Longitudinal Fasciculus, SCC: Splenium of Corpus Callosum. Image courtesy of Kim et al.

News | Neuro Imaging | December 07, 2018
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans show repetitive blows to the head result in brain changes among youth football...
Siemens Healthineers Debuts Magnetom Altea 1.5T MRI Scanner
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | December 06, 2018
During the 104th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Nov. 25-30...
GE Healthcare Unveils New Applications and Smart Devices Built on Edison Platform
Technology | Artificial Intelligence | December 05, 2018
GE Healthcare recently announced new applications and smart devices built on Edison – a platform that helps accelerate...
Snoring Poses Greater Cardiac Risk to Women
News | Women's Health | November 29, 2018
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring may lead to earlier impairment of cardiac function in women than in men,...
Vital Showcases Enterprise Imaging Advances at RSNA 2018

Global Illumination from Vital Images

News | Enterprise Imaging | November 28, 2018
Vital, a Canon Group company, will highlight the latest additions to its enterprise imaging portfolio at the 2018...
Artificial Intelligence May Help Reduce Gadolinium Dose in MRI

Example of full-dose, 10 percent low-dose and algorithm-enhanced low-dose. Image courtesy of Enhao Gong, Ph.D.

News | Contrast Media | November 27, 2018
Researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the dose of a contrast agent that may be left behind in...
Arterys Demonstrates AI Cloud-Based Medical Image Analysis Solutions at RSNA 2018
News | Computer-Aided Detection Software | November 26, 2018
Medical imaging software company Arterys will demonstrate its wide-ranging suite of artificial intelligence (AI)-...
HeartVista Announces One Click Autonomous MRI Solution
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 25, 2018
HeartVista announced its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, One-Click Autonomous MRI acquisition software for cardiac...
Siemens Healthineers Showcases syngo Virtual Cockpit for More Flexible Workforce Management
News | Teleradiology | November 25, 2018
During the 104th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Nov. 25-30...
Canon Medical Receives FDA Clearance for Vantage Orian 1.5T MRI
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 15, 2018
Canon Medical Systems USA Inc. received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its new...