Recent successes with brain imagine technologies may provide hope for improved Alzheimer's and dementia care, something that has turned into a national crisis. With about 20 percent of American seniors suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and about 10 percent diagnosed with dementia, the need to catch the symptoms of these cognitive diseases early has become more important than ever.
Scientists from UCLA recently made headway on precisely that. In the February issue of the the journal Archives of Neurology, a research team reported that a previously developed brain-imaging tool was effective in tracking and predicting cognitive decline over a two-year period.
"We are finding that this may be a useful neuro-imaging marker that can detect changes early, before symptoms appear, and it may be helpful in tracking changes in the brain over time," said study author Dr. Gary Small, UCLA's Parlow–Solomon professor on aging and psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
Researchers pointed out that, now proven effective and accurate, these imaging techniques can help therapies for brain aging and cognitive disease.
"Tracking the effectiveness of such treatments may help accelerate drug discovery efforts," Small said.