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Biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease in sMRI?

  1. Sep 8, 2018 #1
    I have been looking for biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease which can be detected in structural MRI. I have gone through some papers and found that Gray matter, white matter and CSF are good biomarkers. But is there any other except?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2018 #2


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    Gray matter, white matter and CSF are the main components of the brain and probably encompass most of the structures of the brain that you could examine by structural MRI.
  4. Sep 13, 2018 #3
    I thought that Amyloid Plaque was thought to be relevant.

  5. Sep 13, 2018 #4


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    Amyloid plaque is certainly a biomarker for Alzheimer's, but can it be detected with structural MRI?
  6. Sep 15, 2018 #5
    No, amyloid plaques cannot be detected in structural MRI.
  7. Sep 15, 2018 #6
    That's good. But is there any relation between GM, WM and CSF changes for alzheimer's. Like after processing the MRI images and extracting these features from them, is there any kind of relation among these which can collectively be used to say that "yes this image is having alzheimer's".
    Taking it the other way, what value of GM, WM and CSF can we take as a reference for deciding the alzheimer's from MRI image.
  8. Sep 16, 2018 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    You are getting into clinical diagnosis. First off, there is no magic bullet to diagnose Alzheimers and some related diseases, it is largely a matter of ruling out other problems. The absolutely definitive diagnosis is an autopsy.
    From: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20048075

    Which is what @Ygggdrasil is trying to tell you.

    PLEASE read the whole article. It explains the complexity of the diagnosis. Brain scans can sometimes be helpful - they are just not always absolutely definitive.
  9. Sep 19, 2018 #8
    Yes, there is no definitive way of making the diagnosis, its more like building a case, there are certain typical features of the persons history and difficulties that mean the starting point is in a good history and then some specialist cognitive testing, Alzheimer's is associated with specific patterns of cognitive difficulties but it may also cause some of the other problems with similar symptoms, so its not straight forward, depression for example is commonly present . Then because some of the symptoms can be caused by other problems a number of tests are carried out to exclude these other causes, many can be identified in simple blood tests. Various scans can be used to exclude some possible causes that can be directly imaged like vascular changes or strokes but in reality they don't add much and the cost can only be justified if the diagnosis is still unclear. Any changes that are identified are often age related and present in those without signs of dementia and many of the changes are only seen at the microscopic level. They do remain an important tool in research. Examination of the CSF is rarely used, its invasive and hard to justify though it may indicate the presence of inflammatory proteins, how significant these may be is debatable.
    As Alzheimer's tends to run a lengthy course and is essentially untreatable the diagnosis will become clearer over time, the important thing is to identify and treat anything else that might be causing these symptoms or that might add to the persons problems.
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