PET scan shows where in the brain the earliest signs of Alzheimer's occur

The study, conducted in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg and the University of California, was based on around 400 people from each the United States and Sweden who had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Each participant’s brain was monitored for two-years and compared to another control group who showed no signs of Alzheimer’s.

Researchers conducted the study by combining cerebrospinal fluid test results with PET scan brain imaging. The method showed that the initial accumulation of amyloid occurs in one of the brain’s most important functional networks – the default mode network.

Speaking on the study, Sebastian Palmqvist, associate professor and physician at the Lund University, said:

"A big piece of the puzzle in Alzheimer's research is now falling into place. We previously did not know where in the brain the earliest stages of the disease could be detected. We now know which parts of the brain are to be studied to eventually explain why the disease occurs"     

The new results not only provide a basis for future research studies of the disease, but will also have clinical benefit. Oskar Hansson, professor at Lund University and medical consultant at Skåne University Hospital, said:

"Now that we know where Alzheimer's disease begins, we can improve the diagnostics by focusing more clearly on these parts of the brain, for example in medical imaging examinations with a PET camera,"

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