MRI technique detects cognitive decline before symptoms

Early diagnosis of pre-clinical dementia may be possible using a promising type of magnetic resonance imaging, say Swiss researchers.

Their study used arterial spin labelling (ASL), an MRI technique that measures brain perfusion without use of a contrast agent, to examine the brains of 150 healthy elderly people and a further 65 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The researchers focused on the posterior cingulate cortex, an area associated with the default mode network where declines are typically seen in MCI and which are more pronounced in Alzheimer’s.

They found that patterns of

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