Scientists may have found markers on brain scans that could identify the presence of Alzheimer’s disease long before it exists.
In America, a new case of Alzheimer’s is diagnosed almost every single minute, so experts believe this new finding is vital to cognitive research in the future.
Researchers noticed certain areas of the brain light up significantly when using a brain scan. The parts that light up are clumps of amyloid plaque — a protein.
Prior to this research, scientists were only able to identify if a brain contained this plaque by doing an autopsy. However, this new finding allows brain scans to be used to determine whether or not a living individual has concentrations of this plaque. To top it off, the scan is incredibly accurate.
For the procedure, a patient would be injected with a radioactive material that would bind to the plaque in the brain and make it stick out on a PET scan.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study.
The greater the quantity of this amyloid, the higher the chance the person will develop the disease.
While not everybody who has this plaque in the brain will develop the disease, the scan and the findings in this study pave the way for additional research on Alzheimer’s disease detection and prevention.