Monday 18 December 2017
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MRI and spinal fluid tests could help diagnose dementia

Researchers at UCL have discovered that combining cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing with MRI scans could provide an early indication of a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The approach could allow scientists to test treatments or preventions far earlier in the disease.

Researchers studied 105 cognitively normal individuals from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). The results revealed that the brains of those normal individuals with low CSF levels of amyloid (38% of the group), shrank twice as quickly as the other group. They were also five times more likely to possess the APOE4 risk gene and had higher levels of another culprit Alzheimer's protein, tau. One in three people over 65 will die with dementia.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'Detecting dementia early is really important. It can open doors to new treatment targets and could one day go hand in hand with an Alzheimer's vaccine that scientists are edging slowly towards.'

'Testing spinal fluid is a good way of detecting Alzheimer's early but it is desperately under used in the UK. If we change our attitudes and invest more in research we could give hope to the million people who will develop dementia in the next ten years. We particularly want to see this research repeated over a longer period of time to confirm the findings.'

Dr Anne Corbett
Research Communications Manager
Alzheimer's Society