Fast, accurate test for Alzheimer's

Mar 08, 2011

Scientists at the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) are the first to use an advanced computer program to accurately detect the early signs of Alzheimer's disease from a routine clinical brain scan. The new scan can return 85 per cent accurate diagnostic results in under 24 hours.

The 'Automated MRI' software automatically compares or benchmarks someone’s brain scan image against 1200 others, each showing varying stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This collection of images is thought to be the largest of its kind in the world.

Normally in routine clinical practice, brain scans are used to simply exclude diseases that can mimic Alzheimer’s disease, but here automated MRI software is being used for the first time in a NHS setting (Memory Clinics) to make an early and accurate diagnosis of the illness.

Early diagnosis

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's is clinically difficult and patients with the early signs are frequently not treated until their symptoms become stronger. The new scan however can return 85 per cent accurate diagnostic results in under 24 hours.

An early diagnosis allows someone to plan their care before the condition worsens - helping to prevent institutionalisation, dramatically improving their quality of life. It is also a cost effective and efficient way to manage and organise treatment of the disease.

The scan has been developed by scientists at the IoP, together with colleagues from the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm.

The system is being 'field tested' over the next 12 months with patients attending SLaM memory services in Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark. The ‘field test’ will also provide a supply of research grade images, which has important implications for the development of the next generation of drugs for dementia and individualised treatments.

There are 750,000 people with dementia in the UK. The financial cost of dementia to the UK is over £20 billion a year. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, in just 15 years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.

Explore further: Dengue study to focus on asymptomatic carriers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gene tests and brain imaging reveal early dementia

Mar 06, 2007

Dementia diseases develop insidiously and are generally discovered when the memory has already started to deteriorate. New research form Karolinska Institutet shows, however, that approaching Alzheimer's can be detected several ...

Alzheimer's changes detectable in healthy elderly

Dec 22, 2010

A team of UCL researchers, part-funded by the Alzheimer's Research Trust, has discovered that combining spinal fluid testing with MRI scans could provide an early indication of a person’s risk of developing ...

Recommended for you

Thyroid disease risk varies among blacks, Asians, and whites

14 hours ago

An analysis that included active military personnel finds that the rate of the thyroid disorder Graves disease is more common among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites, according to a study in the April ...

The key to easy asthma diagnosis is in the blood

17 hours ago

Using just a single drop of blood, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma.

Younger adults hit hardest this flu season

19 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The H1N1 flu was the predominant influenza strain in the United States this year, but it packed a lot less punch than in 2009 when it caused a worldwide pandemic, health officials report.

User comments : 0

More news stories

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...