Diagnosing Dementia With an Alzheimer MRI
An MRI scan refers to the process of using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, technology to diagnose or assess the progress of any number of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. When looking at images from an Alzheimer MRI, your doctor assesses brain volume changes in key locations. Research in NeuroImage: Clinical shows a diagnostic accuracy of up to 87% when confirming the early presence of Alzheimer’s disease up to seven years before the onset of symptoms.
If you believe that you or a loved one may be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, you should contact your primary care provider as soon as possible. No single test can determine with 100% certainty whether you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, but through a combination of physical, mental and neurological exams, careful medical evaluation, blood tests, and an MRI, you can find an answer.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Strongly linked to aging, this disease causes cognitive decline that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Although there is no cure, show that early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, which can be done through MRI and CT scan of the head and brain, can lead to a better quality of life.
Where Does an Alzheimer MRI Scan Focus?
Imaging in Alzheimer’s disease, such as with CT and MRI, can be used to eliminate other diagnoses by measuring the size and cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for the formation of memories. It is also the part of the brain that typically shows shrinkage or damage in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Once the hippocampus has been evaluated, radiologists use this information to compare your brain volume to a large database and determine whether disease is present.
How Much Brain Volume Loss Do Alzheimer’s Patients Experience?
All people lose some volume of brain mass as they get older, but when someone has Alzheimer’s disease, the brain volume loss becomes more significant. In fact, people with this disease lose brain volume at double the rate of the average person, meaning they lose between 0.5% and 1% of total brain volume every year. In the hippocampus area, patients lose three times more brain volume every year than adults without Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain volume loss is often not apparent in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Although an MRI is usually more effective in detecting Alzheimer’s disease in mid to late stages, it can still identify the presence of the disease in earlier stages.
NeuroQuant offered at American Health Imaging (AHI) is a helpful tool to determine how much brain loss someone has sustained. This technology works in tandem with MRI to perform volumetric MRI processing to assist in scanning the brain for Alzheimer’s disease.
What Should You Expect During an MRI Scan?
An MRI is a safe, painless imaging technique that combines magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of your brain’s structures.
You can get MRIs at hospitals or outpatient imaging centers. The latter tend to be more effective, have better equipment and offer more affordable pricing.
To set up an Alzheimer MRI, contact us today to make an appointment. At AHI, we focus on imaging, and we make sure that you get the highest quality of care.