Published on: November 27, 2016
by Jodelle Maglaya for Health Imaging:
Contrast enhanced MRI found leakages in the blood-brain barrier of people with early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with cognitive decline.
The study published in Radiology tested 16 patients with early AD and 17 healthy age-matched controls who underwent dynamic contrast material enhanced MRI. The researchers used the Paltak graphical approach to measure blood-brain barrier rate and volume.
Data suggested that the blood-brain barrier leakage rate in images were much higher in patients with AD compared to those without the disease, showing up most in the cerebrum. Patients with AD also had a significantly higher volume of leaking brain tissue in the gray matter, normal-appearing white matter and deep gray matter.
“Blood-brain barrier leakage means that the brain has lost its protective means, the stability of brain cells is disrupted and the environment in which nerve cells interact becomes ill-conditioned,” said study author Walter H. Backes, PhD, from the Maastricht University Medical Center in Maastricht, Netherlands. “These mechanisms could eventually lead to dysfunction in the brain.”
The correlation between blood-brain barrier impairment and decline in cognitive performance that the researchers found, suggests that a leak in the blood-brain barrier is part of the early stages of AD and could eventually lead to cognitive decline and dementia.
“For Alzheimer’s research, this means that a novel tool has become available to study the contribution of blood-brain barrier impairment in the brain to disease onset and progression in early stages or pre-stages of dementia,” said Backes.
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