Scientists from the United States have presented a new method for scanning the brain. It will allow detecting neurodegenerative diseases at an early stage.
The new imaging technique is capable of detecting neurological disorders – such as Alzheimer’s – at the earliest stages, allowing doctors to diagnose and treat patients faster. The imaging technique combines positron emission tomography (PET) with an external motion tracker to create detailed images of the brain.
With PET scans of the brain, image quality is often degraded by the patient’s movements during the scan. In this study, researchers used super-resolution to reduce the effects of patient head movements to improve scan quality.
The experiments were carried out on a PET scanner in combination with an external motion tracker that continuously measured head movement with extremely high accuracy. After combining the data from the imaging devices, the researchers obtained images with noticeably higher resolution than conventional scans.
Although this scanning method has so far only been tested in preclinical studies, scientists are now working to extend it to patients as well. “Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the presence of tangles of tau protein. These glomeruli begin to accumulate in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – sometimes decades before symptoms appear – in very small areas of the brain. The better we can image these small structures in the brain, the sooner we can diagnose and possibly treat Alzheimer’s, ”the researchers noted.