In this medical video learn how using MRI scans and intricate computer software, researchers from New York can detect even the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease.
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Jennifer Mathews: When Beatrice Rosenberg's mother was diagnosed with dementia, she worried she would suffer the same fate. Beatrice Rosenberg: I was concerned. I felt I was losing my memory. I'd forget names. Jennifer Mathews: Then she heard about a new technique that measures brain volume changes by using MRI scans over a period of years. Henry Rusinek: Its accuracy is approximately 90%. We think with the future higher resolutions scans, we can improve that method. Jennifer Mathews: Doctor Henry Rusinek studied 45 healthy people over several years. Using MRI scans and intricate computer software, researchers measured an area of the brain that contains two key regions associated with learning and memory; the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Mony de Leon: When these structures are smaller, they have some predictive value as to who's going to develop memory loss and ultimately Alzheimer's disease. Jennifer Mathews: Researchers find out if those critical parts of the brain are shrinking by comparing scans. Mony de Leon: So the brain is changing even when the patient remains normal, and then years later, demonstrates the clinical change. So, this is a landmark observation. Jennifer Mathews: Luckily, for Beatrice, the results have been positive. Beatrice Rosenberg: So far, so good. Had they told me anything was seriously wrong, I'm fully prepared to make any necessary adjustments in my life, any decisions I feel I would have to make. Jennifer Mathews: But for now, that's not something Beatrice has to worry about. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.