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Brain changes in Alzheimer's disease | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis
At the time of the first MRI scans, the turquoise color shows areas of the hippocampus in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease that are shaped differently than in healthy older people. Two years later, even more changes have occurred, represented by the purple color.Even when people have no symptoms, their brains already may be dotted with the plaques and tangles that characterize Alzheimer's disease. As treatments to halt the progress of Alzheimer's disease appear on the horizon, scientists are looking for new ways to identify Alzheimer's-associated changes in the brain before cognitive decline begins. By examining brain images, researchers, led by John G. Csernansky, M.D., the Gregory B. Couch Professor of Psychiatry, and Lei Wang, Ph.D., research associate in psychiatry, both at Washington University's Silvio Conte Center for Neuroscience Research, found that the volume and shape of certain brain structures change in different patterns during Alzheimer's disease than in healthy aging. They believe that someday using these imaging techniques may allow for earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, preferably before the most devastating symptoms appear.