Improving diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dementia are key priorities for society, given the devastating impact of neurodegenerative diseases on patients and their families. In recent decades scientists have made tremendous progress in understanding the cellular genetics and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases, but this has not yet translated into meaningful improvements for patients. We all feel the urgency to change this situation.
In this international review, CBU-based researchers and neurologists Dr Thomas Cope and Prof James Rowe explain how technological advances in brain imaging can be used to take the next step towards this goal.
New positron emission tomography (PET) ligands allow scientists and clinicians to directly measure neuropathology, inflammation and metabolism in living patients, safely and reliably. This gives an insight into mechanisms of human disease and can support clinical trials. Developments in MRI-based imaging and neurophysiology provide complementary assessments of brain function and connectivity, for the direct testing of hypotheses of human pathophysiology. Advances in MRI are also improving the our ability to see how vascular risk and other health problems interact with dementia disease processes. Magnetoencephalography lets us look at the function of brain circuits, and to see the effects of experimental medicines on how nerves interact millisecond by millisecond.
Putting these technologies together has huge promise, improving the prospects of successful clinical trials in the coming years.
Link to article: http://jnnp.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/jnnp-2019-322402