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Earlier Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Possible With Biomarker Identification

Posted Jul 13 2008 10:03am

Researchers at Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario have found clear evidence that increases in the size of the brain ventricles are directly associated with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

The research, led by Robarts scientist Robert Bartha, shows the volume of the brain ventricles - fluid-filled cavities in the brain - expands as surrounding tissue dies. The research was published online today in the neurology journal Brain.

Currently, diagnosis for Alzheimer’s relies on neuro-cognitive assessments, such as testing of memory, ability to problem solve, count and so on. Definitive diagnosis is not possible until after death when an autopsy can reveal the presence of amyloid plaques and ‘tangles’ in brain tissue.

Previous research has shown a link between ventricle size and Alzheimer’s over longer time intervals. The Robarts research shows that ventricle size increases with mild cognitive impairment before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and continues to increase with the onset and progression after only six months.

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