As Alzheimer’s progresses, it can bring an onslaught of different symptoms including memory loss and personality changes. Until now, the manifestation of these symptoms has only been observed through the actions and behavior of people with the disease. Now, researchers at Lund University in Sweden are using PET imaging to show changes in the brain associated with these symptoms.
Learn more about this development and how it could help Alzheimer’s disease or dementia be detected and treated in the future.
Identifying Dementia’s Impact Through Imaging
As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals experience different signs and symptoms including diminished spatial perception, impaired orientation and perhaps, above all, memory impairment.
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found that using PET imaging can help detect these symptoms in a non-invasive way. Michael Schöll, researcher at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg says:
“Now we have a tool which helps us to identify and detect various sub-groups of Alzheimer’s disease. This facilitates the development of drugs and treatments adapted to various forms of Alzheimer’s.”
Additionally, researchers hope that the diagnostics from these images could help people with early-onset Alzheimer’s receive a correct diagnosis earlier in the progression of the disease.
Using Imaging for Clinical Use
The findings, recently published in Brain, a Journal of Neurology, are based on studies evaluating 60 people with Alzheimer’s and included a control group of 30 people with no cognitive impairment. Researchers used PET imaging to see that once Alzheimer’s has been established, there are tau protein lumps in the brain which interrupt the transport routes of neurons.
Oskar Hansson, professor of neurology at Lund University and consultant at Skåne University Hospital, says, “The changes in the various parts of the brain that we can see in the images correspond logically to the symptoms in early onset and late onset Alzheimer’s patients respectively.”
This imaging method is currently only used in research but researchers hope that PET imaging will be available for clinical use in a few years.
Do you think PET imaging can help identify Alzheimer’s or dementia’s impact earlier? Do you have any experience using PET imaging? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.