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Scientists 'can diagnose Alzheimer's disease on MRI scans'

Scientists 'can diagnose Alzheimer's disease on MRI scans'
12th February 2013

Australian scientists have demonstrated a new technology that may be able to identify and diagnose Alzheimer's disease before it causes brain cells to die.

Researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute used a process called diffusion tensor imaging to identify proteins and neurons in the brain on MRI scans. Their findings are published in the latest edition of the NeuroImage journal.

The team, led by Professor Elizabeth Coulson, was able to pinpoint the loss of forebrain cholinergic neurons - these are a key indicator of Alzheimer's disease and are one of the earliest symptoms.

"Detecting cells before they die or degenerate gives [the] opportunity for targeted intervention. It allows patients the opportunity to receive treatment to either reduce the effects or cease the onset of Alzheimer's," she explained.

This investigation was carried out on mice with a version of Alzheimer's disease and the scientists are now investigating if the technology produces the same results in humans.

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