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Aging Brain and Mental Performance Imaging Techniques

PET scans allow for detection of brain aging

10 years, 4 months ago

1716  0
Posted on Jan 07, 2009, 4 a.m. By Rich Hurd

Researchers have used state-of-the-art brain imaging technology in combination with patient information to diagnose brain aging before it becomes symptomatic.

Researchers have used state-of-the-art brain imaging technology in combination with patient information to diagnose brain aging before it becomes symptomatic.

Professor Gary Small and colleagues at UCLA studied 76 non-demented volunteers. Firstly, the researchers collected information about each participant's age, cognitive status, and genetic profile. Then, after being given an intravenous injection of a new chemical marker called FDDNP, which binds to plaque and tangle deposits in the brain, both of which are characteristics of neurodegeneration, each participant then underwent positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging. This enabled the researchers to identify the presence and location of plaques and tangles, and, when used in combination with the patient's information, diagnose brain aging, often while it was still asymptomatic.

"Combining key patient information with a brain scan may give us better predictive power in targeting those who may benefit from early interventions, as well as help test how well treatments are working," said Professor Small. He believes that, in the future, brain aging may be treated in a similar way to which high cholesterol or high blood pressure is treated today. Patients would be given a PET scan combined with the FDDNP injection and possibly a genetic test, and medication could be prescribed if needed, to prevent or delay further neurodegeneration.
    
News release: UCLA assessment technique lets scientists see brain aging before symptoms appear. University of California - Los Angeles. January 6th 2009.

 

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