Scientists at Harvard Medical School say they may have found a way to use neuroimaging to detect changes in the brain that are indicative of Alzheimer's disease before symptoms are found, opening up a potential diagnosis tool to reduce debilitation among those in assisted living facilities.
Current research has focused on amyloid proteins, which scientists say tend to cluster together and damage brain cells, but researchers were unable to detect the formations before the onset of symptoms of neurological decline.
The new study focused on a combination of amyloid imaging and structural defects in one's associative memory, and the scientists are hopeful that it could be used to improve Alzheimer's care.
"The combination of molecular and functional imaging techniques may prove useful in monitoring disease progression prior to significant clinical symptoms," said lead author Dr Reisa A.
"Our findings are consistent with the premise that cognitively intact older individuals with amyloid pathology may already be in the early stages of AD," Sperling added, though cautioned that long-term studies would be needed to confirm the findings.