Using a PET camera and a tracer linked to the protein tau, researchers can now see if Alzheimer’s started early or late in life. Behind the study are the two Swedish Brain Power members Oskar Hansson and Michael Schöll at Lund University.
Alzheimer can give different symptoms depending on when the disease starts. People who are prevalent before age 65 often get a reduced room perception and impaired local memory. Elderly patients are more common with memory impairment.
– The changes in the different parts of the brain that we can see in the pictures correspond with the symptoms that patients receive at early or late Alzheimer’s, says Oskar Hansson, professor of neurology at Lund University and chief physician at Skåne University Hospital.
The imaging method is only used in research, but Oskar Hansson believes that the imaging method will be in clinical use within a few years.
Diagnosis can also be facilitated, especially among younger patients where it is extremely difficult to diagnose correctly.
– Now we have a tool that helps us identify and illustrate different groups of Alzheimer’s. This also facilitates the development of drugs and treatments adapted to various forms of Alzheimer, says Michael Schöll, researcher at Lund University, and also at Wallenberg Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine (WCMTM) at the University of Gothenburg.
The results have been published in the journal Brain and are based on studies of some 60 Alzheimer patients at Skåne University Hospital and a control group consisting of 30 healthy people.
Illustration: Annie Hallén / Michael Schöll
Photo: Johan Wingborg