Recent research has shown that a brain scan and a long-term memory test can help in diagnosing Alzheimer in early stages.
The memory test proved to be efficient because when the disease develops, one of the symptoms is the deficit in the brain’s ability to remember. The current practice for diagnosis relies on checks for short-term forgetfulness which are not that efficient.
According to the researchers, the combination of a memory test and a brain scan could help detect early harmful changes in the brain activity of the patients. Without this combination, these abnormalities would be undetectable.
Early detection means better prevention and a better response to tackle the disease. A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh in the UK conducted a study on young mice to establish how they would react in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
The mice were divided into two groups, some healthy and some with Alzheimer’s disease. Then, the mice were taught to find a hidden platform in a pool filled with water by using signs on the room’s walls to locate the platform.
At the end of the experiment, scientists learned that both groups were capable of remembering the path to the platform in the first stage. Nevertheless, one week later, the mice in the Alzheimer’s group proved to have huge difficulties in remembering the way.
In other words, scientists managed to demonstrate that short-term memory tests are not efficient in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease whereas the actual extent of memory loss can develop later. Plus, experts believe that long-term memory tests will detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier starting from now meaning that doctors will be able to tackle the disease better.
According to Richard Morris, Professor at the Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, tests with animals should be interpreted and analyzed with caution. However, early diagnosis is possible thanks to genetic models and accurate testing.
Hopefully, in the future, Alzheimer’s disease will no longer be such a huge problem for patients and doctors. Together with the development of the medical field, scientists are looking forward to cracking the code of this disease. All in all, brain scan and long-memory tests will now provide doctors and patients with vital information regarding this disease.