Perhaps scientists found an early detection method for some types of dementia, according to new research from the University of Arizona and Baycrest University of Health Sciences University of Toronto.
According to the study published in the journal Neuropsychologia Last month, patients with rare neurodegenerative brain disorder called Primary Progressive Aphasia, or PPA, show abnormalities in brain function in areas that look at an ordinary MRI scanning structure.
"We wanted to study how degeneration affects brain function," said Aneta Kielar, lead author and assistant professor of study in the AU Department of Speech, Language and Listening Sciences.
But she and her team found that the brain showed functional defects in regions that were not yet showing structural damage to MRI.
Structural MRI provides a 3D visualization of the brain structure, which is useful in the study of patients with diseases that develop brain cells, such as PPA.
On the other hand, magneto-magnetography, or MEG, gives you very good spatial accuracy as to where the brain's response comes from. decline, "said Jed Meltzer, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.
Kielar and her colleagues compared patients' brain scans and PPAs to healthy controls and both groups performed language tasks. The researchers also visualized images of the participants at rest. The functional flaws related to poorer performance in the tasks, as individuals with a PPA lose their ability to speak or understand their language and other aspects of cognition are usually preserved.
The discrepancy between the structural and functional integrity of a PPA could be recognized as an early detection method.
This is promising because many drugs dealing with dementia are doing well and this could be because we have too much brain damage, ”Kielar said. "People don't often come in for help until their neurons are already dead. We can do compensation therapies to delay disease progress, but when brain cells are dead, we can't get back. " This technique could let your patients go ahead of the damage.
Kielar acknowledged that it was a small study, partly because PPA is a rare form of dementia, and that further investigation is required.
Afterwards, she hopes to find out why this structural and functional mismatch is occurring in a PPA brain.
"It is interesting that these areas are hit so far from the neurodegeneration," Kielar said. "One reason that could happen is that these areas could be linked to white matter tracks," which facilitates communication between different brain regions. "When one area is dead, the area is not connected to the normal input. It does not know what to do, so it will lose its function and atrophy because it does not get stimulated."
This study was supported by the Ontario Brain Institute's Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative.
Materials provided by University of Arizona. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.
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