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DTI Predicts Memory Loss Better than MRI

January 8, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Neuroradiology
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Using diffused tensor imaging (DTI) along with MRI seems to be better at predicting early memory loss than using MRI alone, say Italian researchers. Their study is published online in the January 6 issue of Neurology.

According to the researchers, most current markers are able to confirm Alzheimer’s disease only when the brain changes are well developed. DTI is sensitive at tracking the pathways of white matter in the brain and therefore can detect changes that don’t show up on regular MRI scans.

Supported by the Italian Ministry of Health, the cross-sectional study looked at changes in the hippocampus in 76 healthy men and women age 20 to 80, all of whom had experienced memory loss. Participants underwent 3T MRI protocol with a whole-brain T1-weighted and diffusion-weighted scanning, along with a neuropsychological assessment that included tests on verbal and visual-spatial memory.

Among their findings, the researchers learned that the changes detected by DTI showed memory loss better than measuring hippocampus volume through regular MRI.

“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,” said study author Giovanni Carlesimo, PhD, in a press release. “This might help doctors when trying to differentiate between normal aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s.”


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