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Elizabeth Coulson on predicting Alzheimer’s disease with MRI

An MRI could be used to predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, new research has revealed.

“A subset of nerve cells called cholinergic nerve cells or cholinergic neurons … degenerate in Alzheimer’s disease,” study lead associate professor Elizabeth Coulson from the University of Queensland said.

“Using the MRI method, we developed an analysis method to measure the shrinkage of the brain structure where these cholinergic neurons reside, an area called the basal forebrain. Then we asked: ‘Did this shrinkage correlate or predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease?’ The shrinkage was a significant risk factor of further cognitive decline.”

Coulson spoke to health editor Dallas Bastian about the research and the impact the findings could have on people who will experience cognitive impairment in the future.

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