News 2010 › 2010-02-16
New tool to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a new method for analysing magnetic resonance (MR) images in just a few minutes when diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, with a level of accuracy comparable to manual measurements made by skilled professionals.
Currently, diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease often makes use of visual assessments of MR images of symptoms such as atrophy in the hippocampus, but determining brain structures manually in this way is difficult for physicians and the repeatability of results is typically poor.
Earlier automatic systems for calculating the volume of the hippocampus are not in general clinical use because of shortcomings in terms of both speed and reliability. Using VTT's new method, MR images can be assessed in just 3 minutes, compared to 15 to 20 minutes or several hours for the fastest currently available automatic methods.
The new method is part of a system being developed under the EU PredictAD project to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease and designed to be sufficiently accurate, reliable, and fast for clinical use, without the need for large investments in equipment.
Other organisations involved in developing the new method include GE Healthcare (Uppsala, Sweden), Imperial College London (UK), the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio, Finland), and Rigshospitalet (Copenhagen, Denmark).