Navigation Links
UCLA researchers image earliest signs of Alzheimer's, before symptoms appear
Date:1/28/2010

Estimates are that some 10 percent of people over the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer's disease, the scourge that robs people of their memories and, ultimately, their lives.

While researchers race to find both the cause and the cure, others are moving just as fast to find the earliest signs that will predict an eventual onset of the disease, well before any outward symptoms. The reason is simple: The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier treatments can be applied.

Now, through the use of sophisticated brain-imaging techniques, researchers at UCLA have been able to predict a brain's progression to Alzheimer's by measuring subtle changes in brain structure over time, changes that occur long before symptoms can be seen. The research appears in two separate papers currently available online and scheduled for future print publication.

In the first study, which appears in the online edition of the journal Human Brain Mapping, UCLA assistant clinical professor of neurology Liana Apostolova and colleagues tracked 169 people over three years who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that causes memory problems greater than those expected for an individual's age but not the personality or cognitive changes that define Alzheimer's. They found that after three years, those who went on to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease showed a 10 to 30 percent greater atrophy in two specific locations within the brain's hippocampus, a part of the brain known to be critical for long-term memory.

In the second study, which appears in the online edition of the journal Neurobiology of Aging, the researchers looked at 10 cognitively normal elderly people and compared their brain scans with those of seven other elderly people who were later diagnosed with MCI and then Alzheimer's. Again, they found that the group that went on to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's showed the same pattern of atrophy in the same regions of the hippocampus.

This shows, Apostolova said, that excess atrophy is present in cognitively normal individuals who are predestined to develop MCI. Further, that atrophy ultimately cascades across the entire hippocampus of the brain, leading to Alzheimer's disease.

"We feel this is an important finding because it is in living humans," said Apostolova, senior author of both papers and a member of the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. "Now we have a sensitive technique that shows the 'invisible' that is, the progression of a disease before symptoms appear."

In the first study, the researchers wanted to track disease progression in the hippocampus. In earlier work, Apostolova's lab had shown that greater atrophy can be documented in the living brain and that it can predict conversion from MCI to Alzheimer's. The researchers looked at two areas within the hippocampus: the CA1 (cornu ammonis) and the subiculum. In this study, they tracked atrophy from the CA1 as it spread to the subiculum, which matched disease progression from the MCI state to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

They split the MCI subjects into those who had no noticeable hippocampal atrophy other then what is expected from normal aging alone, and those who had atrophy greater than expected for normal aging. Three years later, the researchers followed up and compared the MCI group with no visual change to the one with premature change. They found 10 to 30 percent greater atrophy in the CA1 and subiculum of those MCI patients with premature atrophy who were later diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

"In looking at the longitudinal changes, we could see there was definitive evidence of a progression from the CA1 to the subiculum region, and on to the other regions of the hippocampus," Apostolova said.

The second, much smaller study of 17 individuals confirmed the findings of the larger study, but this time in people who were cognitively healthy. Here, the researchers looked at 10 cognitively normal elderly subjects who remained normal at three-year and six-year follow-ups, and at seven cognitively normal elderly subjects who were diagnosed with MCI between two and three years after their initial brain scan and with Alzheimer's approximately seven years after the initial scan.

Again, excessive atrophy in the CA1 and subicular regions was present in cognitively normal individuals who went on to be diagnosed with MCI, and a slow progression of atrophy beyond the CA1 and subiculum to other regions was evident in those ultimately diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Apostolova noted that the degree of atrophy is not easily visible in the brain scans and that very sensitive techniques are required to show its progression.

"We can't see the pathologic changes, but we clearly see the neurodegenerative atrophy associated with MCI and AD, and how it spreads through the hippocampus," she said. "This is exactly what a biomarker, being an indirect measure of disease progression, is supposed to do."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Stanford researchers find culprit in aging muscles that heal poorly
2. UCLA researchers identify markers that may predict diabetes in still-healthy people
3. Mayo Clinic researchers discover new diagnostic test for detecting infection in prosthetic joints
4. Bipolar disorder relapses halved by Melbourne researchers
5. Cell that triggers symptoms in allergy attacks can also limit damage, Stanford researchers find
6. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
7. Researchers estimate about 9 percent of US children age 8 to 15 meet criteria for having ADHD
8. Majority of 2.4 Million U.S. Children With ADHD Not Diagnosed or Consistently Treated, According to New Gold Standard Study by Cincinnati Childrens Researchers
9. Researchers develop long-lasting growth hormone
10. Jefferson immunology researchers halt lethal rabies infection in brain
11. Purdue researchers develop technology to detect cancer by scanning surface veins
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... ATP Science, an Australian-based company focused ... the January ECRM Trade Show in Hilton Head, SC, benefiting from outstanding meetings ... of supplements that keep the body functioning at its peak performance by providing ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... "TransFlare 4K Mystique comes with 44 colorful ... Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , TransFlare ... Sensor,TransFlare 4K Mystique lens flare and light leak transitions have a very high-dynamic range ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , ... January 20, 2017 , ... “The Angel”: ... Lord has set out for each of his children. “The Angel” is the creation ... of Music in New York City, and impassioned writer. , When asked of her ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... D R Burton Healthcare ... device, was featured in a study indicating superior performance against competitive products in ... of Three Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure Devices During Simulated Breathing“ was published in ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... ... “Knowledge is God’s Lighthouse”: a moving and colorful collection of prayers that reminds ... published author, Gene Gaapf, a retired truck driver, and a long-time writer, whose published ... high school and have many different titles,” Gaapf mentions about his different works. “I ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/21/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... - Technology, Route Of Administration, End User - Forecast to 2025" ... ... grow at a CAGR of around 7.8% over the next decade ... industry report analyzes the global markets for Advanced Drug Delivery across ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... YORK , January 20, 2017 ... Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP ), Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: ... SCMP ), and Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: ... fell on Thursday, January 19 th , 2017, finishing near ... Health Care Index dropped over 0.7%, while shares of health ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... Avillion LLP, a co-developer and financier of late-stage pharmaceutical product candidates, ... Chief Medical Officer. Dr Weinberg will be based in ... ... 17 years as a pharmaceutical and biotech executive with experience ranging ... of his career, he has interfaced with the US Food & ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: