10-Minute Brain Scan Could Detect Dementia Years Before Symptoms Appear, Study Suggests

A study suggests that a 10-minute brain scan could detect dementia several years before symptoms appear. Using functional MRI (fMRI) scans of resting brain activity, scientists achieved an 80% accuracy rate in predicting dementia up to nine years before diagnosis. If validated in larger studies, this scan could become a routine procedure in memory clinics.

Prof. Charles Marshall of Queen Mary University of London, who led the research, emphasized the importance of early detection for developing treatments to prevent brain cell loss. The study involved 1,100 UK Biobank volunteers, identifying changes in the brain’s default mode network (DMN), which is vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. AI algorithms helped predict dementia onset with significant accuracy.

New Alzheimer’s drugs, such as lecanemab and donanemab, are expected to be licensed soon, underscoring the need for early diagnosis. However, experts like Dr. Sebastian Walsh and Dr. Richard Oakley caution that further research and NHS investment in scanners and specialized staff are necessary before implementing this technology widely.


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