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Brain atrophy detected in Parkinson's patients

Brain atrophy detected in Parkinson's patients
13th December 2011

Brain atrophy has been detected in patients with Parkinson's disease by a new study.

Individuals with Parkinson's disease who exhibit cognitive impairment have atrophy in the hippocampus of the brain, according to researchers.

MRI scans revealed that patients with mild cognitive impairment also have more atrophy in the hippocampus, basal ganglia, amygdale and insula than those Parkinson's patients with normal cognition.

Patients with normal cognition also showed no significant loss of brain volume compared with healthy controls, while Parkinson's patients with full-blown dementia displayed atrophy in the hippocampus area and the surrounding medial temporal lobe, which is crucial to memory and other cognitive abilities.

MRI scans are commonly used to identify patterns of brain atrophy and can help doctors detect Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease before symptoms display themselves.

They also allow professionals to identify which patients are at a greater risk of faster brain degeneration and decline into dementia.

While there is no cure for Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease, early and accurate diagnosis is vital to identify appropriate drug treatments and to help stabilise symptoms.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.