Feb 182010
 

Finland’s VTT has developed a rapid image analysis method to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in just a few minutes.

The accuracy of the analysis is comparable to manual measurements made by skilled professionals, which are currently considered the most reliable method for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. The accurate and rapid analysis method is well suited for clinical use.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease requires that the patient displays some other symptom or sign of Alzheimer’s disease in addition to memory problems. Such other symptoms include atrophy, i.e. the loss of brain cells, visible in MR images. One of the first areas of the brain where atrophy can be detected is the hippocampus. With VTT’s new method, the volume of the hippocampus can be accurately calculated automatically.

Currently, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease often makes use of visual assessment of MR images. Manual determination of brain structures in this way is a difficult task for the physician, and the repeatability of results typically poor. This has led to a high demand for objective methods. Earlier automatic systems for calculating the volume of the hippocampus are not in general clinical use because of deficiencies in speed and reliability.

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