New test may determine Alzheimer's risk

July 14, 2009 This latest research is using brain imaging to distinguish who is most likely to be affected. It's a large scale effort to test whether brain imaging, combined with laboratory or psychological testing, can detect early changes prior to any outward symptoms of the disease.

Irreversible brain changes are believed to begin many years before symptoms are detectable.

Doctors look for people with mild cognitive impairment. Those who score low on a verbal memory test and had low levels of brain activity were 15 times more likely to progress to Alzheimer's disease in the next two years.

Experts hope that early detection methods will allow early intervention once better treatments have been developed.

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