Scientists at the University of California in San Diego have developed a method of quickly and accurately measuring brain-volume loss that could improve Alzheimer's care.
The scientists believe they can track the severity of Alzheimer's disease (AD) by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which could be faster and more accurate than the measures that are commonly used for this purpose today, like cognitive testing.
"Loss of volume in the hippocampus is a consistent finding when using MRI, and is a reliable predictor of cognitive decline," said Dr Anders Dale, a professor at the university.
"However, we have now developed and validated imaging biomarkers to not only track brain atrophy, but distinguish the early stages of Alzheimer's disease from changes related to normal aging."
The Mayo Clinic says that AD is the most common cause of dementia. When an individual suffers from this disease, his or her healthy brain tissue degenerates, which often leads to memory loss and other mental problems. Nearly 50 percent of people over the age of 85 have AD.