Advanced MRI brain scan analysis may help predict stroke-related dementia

A fully automatic technique that provides an accurate method for assessing brain microstructural damage.

When a stroke or other infection harms little veins in the brain, the condition is known as small vessel disease. This condition is the most common cause for thinking problems and can even prompt dementia. Albeit early treatment could help patients at risk, no successful test is accessible to recognize them.

Now a new research suggests that an advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scan analysis in patients with stroke-related, small vessel disease helped predict problems with thinking, memory and even dementia.

This examination assessed the precision of a new MRI technique using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), in foreseeing thinking problems and dementia identified with small vessel disease. A single scan estimated the brain in fine detail to uncover damaged regions.

Scientists then compared these images to healthy person’s and classified the brain into areas of healthy versus damaged tissue. Results demonstrated that members with the most brin damage were substantially more liable to develop thinking problems. The investigation likewise anticipated three-fourths of the dementia cases that happened during the examination.

The study included 99 patients with small vessel disease caused by ischemic stroke, a type of stroke that blocks the blood vessels deep within the brain. Slightly more than one-third were female, average age 68, and most were Caucasian. All participants were enrolled in the St George’s Cognition and Neuroimaging in Stroke (SCANS) study from 2007 to 2015 in London.

Participants received the MRI scans annually for three years and thinking tests annually for five years. Eighteen participants developed dementia during the study, with an average time to onset of approximately three years and four months.

Senior author Rebecca A. Charlton, Ph.D., department of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the United Kingdom said, “We have developed a useful tool for monitoring patients at risk of developing dementia and could target those who need early treatment.”

“This advanced MRI analysis offers a highly accurate and sensitive marker of small vessel disease severity in a single measure that can be used to detect who will and will not go on the develop dementia in a five-year period.”

The research is published in the Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

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