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Predictions key to Alzheimer's treatment

3rd January 2006

A link between reduced brain volume and dementia has supported claims that accurate predictions are the future of treating Alzheimer's.

Healthy elderly people with reduced brain volume in the areas of the amygdala and the hippocampus are more likely to suffer from dementia in the next six years, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, indicates that collating detailed information such as this can help to predict which currently healthy people will suffer in the future, allowing for medical intervention.

Identifying those at risk is the key to preventing and treating dementia, reports the American Medical Association.

"Our study suggests that structural brain imaging can help identify people at high risk for developing dementia, even before they have any memory complaints or measurable cognitive impairment," commented the authors of the report.

"However, further prospective population studies are required to find additional biomarkers, including other brain imaging parameters, that alone or in combination with clinical and genetic characteristics can help separate those who are at risk for developing dementia from those who are not," they added.