Alzheimer's - closing in on early diagnosis
Doctor Thomas Insel discusses recent findings of structural changes in the brains of teenagers may be warning signs for the potential onset of Alzheimer's disease.
I think for Alzheimerâ€™s weâ€™re getting some really interesting leads. So there are really two observations; one that you can begin to image plaques and image amyloid. Itâ€™s very interesting because that could give us a biomarker that we didnâ€™t have before. The other finding which doesnâ€™t get much play but I think is one that is really intriguing is that if you look at people who have the APOE4 gene allele that greatly increases your risk for Alzheimer's, you can find changes in the brain; cortical thinning for instance, so structural changes very early in life, even in teenagers 30 to 40 years before youâ€™ll have any of the signs or symptoms of Alzheimer's. Now thatâ€™s quite interesting because it says this is after all a brain disorder, we use behavioral changes to make the diagnosis. But increasingly we have to remember those behavioral changes are an end stage and we want to be able to use neuroimaging to diagnose a brain disorder much, much earlier. The analogy would be like saying weâ€™re only going to diagnose coronary artery disease when someone develops the pain of a heart attack. Today we donâ€™t do that, we get there much earlier. We use imaging, we use biomarkers, and we have a whole series of both family histories and genetics that helps us to suspect that someoneâ€™s at very, very high risk and we intervene early. But in dementia, in most neurological diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and most mental disorders like schizophrenia and autism weâ€™re getting there only when we have behavioral manifestations which are probably a very late stage in whatâ€™s been a very long process. Just one example: Parkinsonâ€™s emerges symptomatically when youâ€™ve lost 80% of the cells in the substantia nigra; we donâ€™t want to wait until 80% are gone, we want to know thatâ€™s going to happen at 20, 30, 40 percent or even before and intervene to make sure you never develop the signs and symptoms of Parkinsonâ€™s.
alzheimer's, imaging, neuroimaging, substantia nigra, biomarker, dementia, plaques, genetics, thomas, insel
- ID: 2005
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2004. Neuroimaging - notes of caution
Doctor Thomas Insel points out that although neuroimaging is a tremendously exciting technique, there are no examples of findings affecting clinical practice or diagnosis.
2187. Alzheimer's disease - imaging test
Professor Donna Wilcock discusses a new biological technique for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease using PET neuroimaging.
2031. Alzheimer's disease - selective neuropathology
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease, which affects the hippocampus, amygdala, and cortical areas. Areas, such as the cerebellum, are unaffected.
2026. Testing for Alzheimer’s disease
Professor Kenneth Kosik explains that Alzheimer's disease is traditionally diagnosed by a physician taking a history and physical. In the near future, neuroimaging will provide an accurate diagnosis.
794. Background to Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes a gradual and irreversible loss of higher brain functions, including memory, language skills, and perception of time and space,
800. Imaging Alzheimer's Disease
Neuroimaging techniques help scientists visualize Alzheimer's disease before the disease becomes debilitating.
1452. Tau Gene (MAPT)
Neurofibrillary tangles are bundles of tau proteins, which mark the tau gene (MAPT) as a strong candidate for Alzheimer’s disease.
832. White Matters
Only quite recently have neuroscientists begun to understand the importance of white matter, a long-neglected part of the brain.
2136. Amyloid beta causing forgetfulness
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses an experiment by his group, which found that a-beta oligomers temporarily injected into rats' brains caused temporary forgetfulness.
2340. Plaques cause increases in Calcium in the Brain
Doctor Brian Bacskai explaine that senile plaques lead to an increase in resting calcium in astrocytes in the entire brain.