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

Philips Introduces Technology Maximizer Program for Imaging Equipment Upgrades
Technology | Imaging | January 17, 2018
January 17, 2018 — Philips recently announced the launch of Technology Maximizer, a cross-modality program designed t
Russian Team Developing New Technology to Significantly Reduce MRI Research Costs
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 16, 2018
January 16, 2018 — Researchers from the NUST MISIS Engineering Center for Industrial Technologies in Russia have deve
Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain
News | Mobile Devices | January 11, 2018
Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet,...
Emergency Radiologists See Inner Toll of Opioid Use Disorders

Rates of Imaging Positivity for IV-SUDs Complications. Image courtesy of Efren J. Flores, M.D.

News | Clinical Study | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Emergency radiologists are seeing a high prevalence of patients with complications related to opio
Study Finds No Evidence that Gadolinium Causes Neurologic Harm

MR images through, A, C, E, basal ganglia and, B, D, F, posterior fossa at level of dentate nucleus. Images are shown for, A, B, control group patient 4, and the, C, D, first and, E, F, last examinations performed in contrast group patient 13. Regions of interest used in quantification of signal intensity are shown as dashed lines for globus pallidus (green), thalamus (blue), dentate nucleus (yellow), and pons (red).

News | Contrast Media | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — There is no evidence that accumulation in the brain of the element gadolinium speeds cognitive dec
Weight Loss Through Exercise Alone Does Not Protect Knees
News | Orthopedic Imaging | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Obese people who lose a substantial amount of weight can significantly slow down the degeneration
Neurofeedback Shows Promise in Treating Tinnitus

The standard approach to fMRI neurofeedback. Image courtesy of Matthew Sherwood, Ph.D.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Researchers using...
Male Triathletes May Be Putting Their Heart Health at Risk
News | Cardiac Imaging | January 09, 2018
Competitive male triathletes face a higher risk of a potentially harmful heart condition called myocardial fibrosis,...
State-of-the-Art MRI Technology Bypasses Need for Biopsy
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 09, 2018
January 9, 2018 – The most common type of tumor found in the kidney is generally quite small (less than 1.5 in).
New Studies Show Brain Impact of Youth Football
News | Neuro Imaging | January 09, 2018
School-age football players with a history of concussion and high impact exposure undergo brain changes after one...
Overlay Init