This news deals with the grave issue of Alzheimer’s disease. A study claims that a novel kind of brain scan known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) seems to be superior in diagnosing whether an individual suffering from memory loss could have brain alterations of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study included about 76 healthy people in Rome between 20 to 80 years. The participants had to experience DTI-MRI brain scanning, which appeared to be more responsive as compared to conventional MRI for diagnosing variations in brain chemistry, thus charting fiber tracts that may join brain areas. The study authors apparently investigated DTI alterations in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that seems to be significant to memory and one that is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

Norbert Schuff, PhD, with the University of California and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, commented, “As better medicines for Alzheimer’s disease become available, it will be important to identify people at high risk for the disease as early and accurately as possible so treatment can be most effective.”

The subjects received verbal tests and tests that gauged visual understanding of space between objects. The study authors pitted the brain scans against each other and discovered that alterations in DTI imaging supposedly clarified the declines in memory in a better way as compared to measuring hippocampus volume via a conventional MRI. It was seen that the median diffusivity in the hippocampus envisaged verbal and spatial memory performance in the participants in a better way, particularly in those who were 50 years or older.

Study author Giovanni Carlesimo, PhD, with Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, commented, “Our findings show this type of brain scan appears to be a better way to measure how healthy the brain is in people who are experiencing memory loss. This might help doctors when trying to differentiate between normal aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s.”

The expert added that DTI, along with MRI, could serve as an important tool in understanding how and why a person experiences memory decline.

The study was published in the Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.