In a new study, researchers from University of Kentucky's College of Medicine used brain MRI images to detect changes in normal individuals facing high risks for Alzheimer's disease, which would help in early diagnosis of the disease. The study was published in the journal NeuroImage.
The study was concentrating on the changes occurring in the white matter of the brain, which is the main tissue forming the deep parts in the brain. The white matter is formed mainly of myelinated nerve cell axons. Brian Gold, associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology, the lead author of the study, said "The brain's white matter can be thought of as a set of telephone wires which enable communication between gray matter 'thinking regions',"
Previous studies reported declining in gray and white matters of the brain of individuals having Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, researchers were aiming to detect which type of brain matters are showing declining in individuals at high risk for the disease. Researchers used MRI images to detect changes in white and grey matters in the brains for individuals involved in the study. These individuals were divided into high risk and low risk groups according to factors such as familial history of the disease and their age. The results of the study showed that the major change in high risk group was the declining in the volume of white matter in their brains. Such results indicate that reduction in the volume of white matter may be the early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.