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Imaging Reveals Vision Impairment in People with Alzheimer’s

January 7, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Neuroradiology
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MRI shows patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease may have altered function along the dorsal visual pathway, says a new study published in the January issue of Radiology.

In the study from Ireland, researchers looked at data from 12 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 14 healthy people of the same age. During functional MRI, participants had to decide whether two faces they saw at the same time were identical, and whether two images were in the same location within surrounding rectangles.

Results showed that in the healthy participants, the visual perception tasks “selectively activated the visual pathways,” according to the study abstract. But the people with Alzheimer’s had no selective activation during the same tasks. During the location-matching task, people with Alzheimer’s recruited more regions, particularly in the frontal and parietal lobes, along the dorsal visual pathway.

The findings suggest impairment of the dorsal visual pathway in people with Alzheimer’s could lead to a greater risk of falls due to increased problems with depth perception, motor perception, object location perception, and navigation, the researchers say.

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