VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a method for analysing
MR images in just a few minutes when diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. 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.
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.
new method, the assessment of MR images takes 3 minutes. With the fastest
currently available automatic MR image assessment methods, the assessment
takes 15 to 20 minutes. However, it is not uncommon for assessments to last
for several hours.
The new method is part of a system which
is currently being developed under the EU PredictAD project to help diagnose
Alzheimer's disease. The system will be completed in 2011. The aim of the
project is to develop objective methods which are sufficiently accurate,
reliable and fast for clinical use but do not require large investments in
Other organisations involved in developing the new
method include GE Healthcare (Uppsala, Sweden), Imperial College London (UK),
University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio, Finland) and Rigshospitalet
(Copenhagen, Denmark). The method is currently being tested to guarantee its
Results on the functionality of the
new system have been published in NeuroImage (please visit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.026).
MR images of hippocampus
MR images of brains