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Facebook used to analyse Alzheimer's

Facebook used to analyse Alzheimer's
30th June 2008

Scientists are using concepts borrowed from social networking site Facebook to analyse the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

According to, the test scientists are using relies on brain-imaging techniques and claim that the method may be the first step toward developing a new diagnostic tool to differentiate between early-stage Alzheimer's and other disorders.

Previous studies have shown that brain signals travel along paths that are connected by hubs - similar to social networking sites that have functional hubs that then connect to others.

Dr Vinod Menon, along with his colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine in the US, compared the length of these paths and number of hubs between different people in a group.

They found that the people who had Alzheimer's disease had fewer functional hubs.

Dr Menon said: "Our study shows for the first time that this type of network study can be used to characterize functional disorganisation and reorganization in Alzheimer's disease."

Meanwhile, new research by a team of Irish and international scientists, involving academics from the University College Dublin has shown that Alzheimer's disease is triggered by the accumulation of a certain protein in the brain, Nature Medicine has reported.

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