Alzheimer’s disease may soon be detect using a single magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, according to UK researchers.
Getting test for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, can involve taking a painstaking number of tests and scans with many memory and cognitive tests.
The study focus on the regions of the brain which were traditionally not associate with Alzheimer’s and could help open new avenues for the detection of the disease at an early stage.
The research was undertaken by a team at Imperial College London.
Machine learning technology is use to look at structural features within the brain.
Researchers have focus on the regions of the brain which were traditionally not associate with Alzheimer’s, like the cerebellum and the ventral diencephalon, a technique that made it easier to detect the disease. .
The study, publish in Nature Portfolio Journal, open new horizons for the detection of Alzheimer’s at an early stage.
Until now, weeks of tests were require to identify the disease.
The tests would be use to check for protein deposits in the brain and shrinkage of the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain link to memory.
Now, the research suggests that a single MRI brain scan taken on a standard 1.5 Tesla machine can help detect it.
This technology is present in most hospitals and hence, the approach becomes more accessible.
Researchers divide the brain into 115 regions and allocate 660 different features like size, shape, and texture to examine each region.
They use an algorithm used to classify cancer tumours and adapt it to their purpose.
Specific changes to any of the features in the brain were detect by the algorithm to suggest Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers have use data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and tested their approach on brain scans from over 400 patients with early and later-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
They also studied healthy controls and patients with other neurological conditions like frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers also evaluate the novel approach with over 80 patients undergoing diagnosis for Alzheimer’s at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
In 98% of cases, the new system could detect Alzheimer’s. In 79% of cases, the test successfully differentiate between the early and late stages of the disease.