Using brain scans, Finnish researchers were able to detect signs of early Alzheimer's disease in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The study included 13 elderly men and women with MCI and a control group of 14 elderly people with no memory problems. Researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to measure uptake of an imaging agent called PIB that highlights abnormal protein aggregation growth, or amyloid plaque, in the brain. A build-up of amyloid plaque is a signature of Alzheimer's disease.
The scans revealed that the people with MCI had as much as 39 percent more PIB uptake in some areas of the brain than those in the control group. About half of the people with MCI had PIB uptake levels indicative of Alzheimer's disease.
Suggests early Alzheimer’s
"This pattern of increased PIB in patients with MCI resembles what's seen in Alzheimer's disease and is suggestive of an early Alzheimer's disease process," study author Dr Juha O. Rinne, of the University of Turku, said in a prepared statement.
"Our findings are similar to what's seen in post-mortem studies in which abnormal protein aggregation growth is found in people who had been diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease," Rinne said.
The study is published in the May 8 issue of the journal Neurology.
Identifying people with MCI who have a build-up of amyloid plaque in the brain will become increasingly important as treatments for amyloid plaque become available, Rinne said. – (HealthDayNews)