OAK BROOK, Ill. Using MRI, researchers may be able to predict which adults with mild cognitive impairment are more likely to progress to Alzheimer's disease, according to the results of a study published online and in the June issue of Radiology.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between the decline in mental abilities that occurs in normal aging and the more pronounced deterioration associated with dementia, a group of brain disorders that includes Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Individuals with MCI develop AD at a rate of 15 to 20 percent per year, which is significantly higher than the one to two percent rate for the general population. Some people with MCI remain stable while others gradually decline and some quickly deteriorate.
"Being able to better predict which individuals with MCI are at greatest risk for developing Alzheimer's would provide critical information if disease-modifying therapies become available," said the study's lead author, Linda K. McEvoy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Dr. McEvoy and a team of researchers analyzed MRI exams from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a large publicly and privately sponsored study, which performed imaging and other tests on hundreds of healthy individuals and others with MCI and early AD between 2005 and 2010 in hopes of identifying valuable biomarkers of the disease process.
Included in the study were a baseline MRI exam, serving as an initial point of measurement, and a second MRI performed a year later on 203 healthy adults, 317 patients with MCI and 164 patients with late-onset AD. The average age of the study participants was 75.
Using MRI, the researchers measured the thickness of the cerebral cortex the outermost layer of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, thou
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Radiological Society of North America