Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease

As I posted earlier this week, every 7 seconds there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world. In 2001, 24 million people were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. Researchers expect this number to rise to 43 million by 2025 and to 81 million by 2050.

The medical community has long been challenged on how to make a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Currently doctors use a combination of brain scans, blood tests and patient interviews, but distinguishing the disease from other forms of dementia is difficult, and time consuming, and the accuracy of diagnosis is only about 85%. A truly definitive diagnosis is only possible after death.

Now, according to a recent BBC News report, researchers at University College London have published findings in the journal Brain showing that, using computer technology, they can identify brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s with an accuracy as high as 96%.

Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms only emerge after a considerable amount of damage has already occurred in the brain so it is important to make an accurate diagnosis early to improve the chances of effectively preventing further deterioration.

Having a powerful, non-invasive, fast and cheap technology to provide early diagnosis would be a much needed advancement in the treatment of this terrible disease. The researchers are doing further analysis to understand the full benefits and accuracy of the technique and to see if it can be used to assess the effectiveness of new drugs.

We have our fingers crossed that they are successful.

By IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network Blog


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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