April 26, 2019 – New Alzheimer’s Technique


Anchor lead: Can a new form of brain imaging help spot Alzheimer’s disease earlier? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Alzheimer’s disease may be easier to stop if we diagnose the condition earlier. Gwenn Smith, a brain imaging expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, have been working with a new imaging technique in conjunction with an existing one, to do just that.

Smith: The current study uses a methodology called magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We were able to look at two specific chemicals in the brain GABA and glutamate, one inhibitory and one excitatory, that complements what we can look at on the PET scan. We see a decrease in the two neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate, in parts of the brain where we see evidence of early pathology, in individuals at risk for memory decline.  :29

Smith says that if ready for clinical prime time, monitoring changes in these neurotransmitters, which the brain uses for communication between neurons as well as other cells, could indicate that Alzheimer’s disease is beginning and interventions may be employed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.