Invisible Illness Podcast - Better Care And Better Understanding.
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Early Symptoms of Dementia: Be Aware of Subtle Signs


Early Symptoms of Dementia: Be Aware of Subtle Signs

Alzheimer’s disease historically could only be diagnosed accurately at autopsy, so for the first time, we’re discovering an imaging technique that may be able to image. At the same time, the patient is alive and find these structural brain abnormalities we hope that this is an open doorway to using pet scans for early diagnosis and staging of Alzheimer’s diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is known as a plaque it’s an abnormal protein accumulation in certain parts of the brain researchers have designed a drug that has some radiation attached to it when that drug is injected in the vein of the arm it travels through the bloodstream into the brain. It accumulates in these protein plaques a special imaging camera is then able to detect these areas of radiation and create an image of the brain that allows radiologists not only to identify where abnormalities are but perhaps even the severity of the abnormality we hope that this will enable us to find these abnormalities at an early stage when they can be treated and obviously without having to go on to autopsy to discover what this disease was.

The use of imaging

Scientists at the University of California-Berkeley published a research paper showing that positron emission tomography, a PET scan can actually track the progressive stages of Alzheimer’s disease that is exceptionally significant research. This diagnostic tool is not yet available in the clinical setting but if the investigation proves to be as valuable as it sounds like it will be what will it mean for the future of diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, this kind of brain imaging will serve as a biomarker that allows us to identify and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. As new therapies drugs are created to treat Alzheimer’s we hope that we can detect Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage with these brain imaging techniques and to be able to monitor the effectiveness of these therapies based on what doctors know about this research.


Clinical usage

These tests are probably in stage two or three of trials, and they are encouraged by their accuracy so we may start seeing this perhaps in the next year or two. UT Health Northeast here has approached the diagnosis of dementia from a different direction, using magnetic resonance imaging or an MRI and high-tech brain image diagnosis software. It has been known for a long time that rapid shrinkage of the brain is associated with some forms of dementia. Researchers have been looking for an imaging method that would identify these areas of reduction. At the same time, the patient is alive to make a diagnosis.


MRI provides exquisite images of the brain that may serve that exact purpose in researching and measuring these areas of shrinkage, it was quickly learned that to manually do this was too  time-intensive and expensive for so many patients that needed it this led to the creation and discovery of automated software that would do the process for us, and that’s known as neuro quantum

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