Researchers work on affordable, non-invasive Alzheimer's test
New research is attempting to identify a potential biomarker that could offer a more complete picture of who is most at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease among those who have amnestic mild cognitive impairment, or aMCI.
In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers identify a specific variation in brain waves of those with aMCI. The findings depict a pattern of delayed neural activity that is directly related to the severity of impairment in cognitive performance on a word-finding task and may indicate an early dysfunction of progression to Alzheimer's disease.
The potential diagnostic approach uses electroencephalogram technology, which researchers say is a more affordable and non-invasive alternative to other available methods, such as MRI or a spinal tap, to measure neural responses while participants access semantic memory or long-term memory representative of general knowledge and concepts.
“This protocol could potentially provide complementary information for diagnosis of pre-dementia stages, including MCI, and identify neural changes that can occur in cases of Alzheimer's disease,” Hsueh-Sheng Chiang, M.D., Ph.D., a research doctoral student at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas at the time of the study who is now a postdoctoral fellow at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said in a statement.
The research team plans to recruit more participants and to follow them longitudinally in combination with other objective measures to examine the potentiality of applying this EEG tool as an early disease marker.