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Researchers find ways of detecting dementia's damaging effects before it's too late

ANI 

Researchers have found an early detection method for certain forms of Patients with a rare neurodegenerative brain disorder, called (PPA), show abnormalities in brain function in areas that look structurally normal in an scan.

"We wanted to study how degeneration affects the functioning of the brain," said Aneta Kielar, the study's in the UA Department of Speech,

Structural provides 3D visualisation of brain structure, which is useful when studying patients with that literally cause brain cells to wither away, like PPA.

Magnetoencephalography, or MEG, on the other hand, "gives you really good spatial precision as to where the brain response originates. We want to know if the decreased brain function is coming from the areas that are already atrophied or areas in an earlier stage of decline," said Jed Meltzer, the study's at the

The findings were published in the Journal of Neuropsychologia.

As part of the study, the researchers compared brain scans of patients with PPA to healthy controls while both groups performed language tasks. The researchers also imaged participants' brains while at rest. The functional defects were related to worse performance in the tasks, as individuals with PPA lose their ability to speak or understand language while other aspects of cognition are typically preserved.

Identifying the discrepancy between a PPA brain's structural and functional integrity could be used as an early detection method.

According to the research team, this is promising because many drugs designed to treat are proving to be not really effective and that "might be because we're detecting the brain damage too late."

Often, people don't come in for help until their neurons are already dead.

"We can do compensation therapies to delay progression, but once brain cells are dead, we can't get them back," Kielar added.

This technique could allow patients to get ahead of the damage.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 11:11 IST
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