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Combining brain imaging, genetic analysis may help identify people at early risk of Alzheimer's
Date:2/8/2011

ptoms of Alzheimer's disease, yet the brains of those who carried the gene variation had differences in their brain structures consistent with changes we see in people at the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Aristotle Voineskos, physician and scientist at CAMH, and principal investigator of the study.

Participants who carried the variation were more likely to have thinner temporal lobe structures and disrupted white matter tract connections leading into the temporal lobe - the same structures and neural networks that have deteriorated in the brains of Alzheimer's patients when their brains are examined post-mortem.

"In the past, Alzheimer's disease could only be diagnosed and treated once outward symptoms became present," added Dr. Voineskos. "Early identification is key because, in addition to seeking therapeutic treatments early to reduce suffering, delaying Alzheimer's onset by only two years has the potential of saving the Canadian health care system nearly $15 billion over the next 10 years. The combination of brain imaging and genetics is a key approach that may help us to identify people at risk for Alzheimer's disease."

This breakthrough in image-genetics research can be valuable in the research of other brain diseases and will enable researchers to examine how a gene affects the brain and possibly intervene before a person develops an illness.


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Contact: Michael Torres
media@camh.net
416-595-6015
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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