Researchers create “brain map” to be used in Alzheimer’s diagnoses, treatments

A map of the human brain being developed at the University of Georgia might soon help in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Researchers at UGA currently are working on a project in partnership with Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to compare scans of brains exhibiting normal brain function to scans of brains of patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, a condition characterized by declined memory or thinking ability.

Researchers hope the comparisons will lead to new clues as to how much of a diseased brain is disrupted by MCI and how these different levels of disruption affect cognition.

“We know that 15 to 20 percent of patients with MCI go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead researchers for the project Tianming Liu. “We also know that healthy brains function in a much more consistent, predictable way than those with disease, but each MCI patient might have a different pattern of brain network disruption. If we can determine how all of these networks are related to a person’s health, we can create new diagnostics and open new avenues for therapies.”

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