New technique for monitoring Alzheimer’s disease

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Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist A type of brain fingerprinting analysis can monitor how Alzheimer's patients are responding to drugs. There are some medications which can slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. It is useful for patients and their doctors to know how well these are working and, thanks to a new technique called brain fingerprinting, this can be done better than ever.

The 30 minute test involves the patient wearing a headband with built-in electrodes. Technicians then present words, phrases and images that are both known and unknown. If the patient remembers, a characteristic pattern of brain activity is recorded. If they do not, a different pattern is recorded. All this serves to show how fast memory is deteriorating and if it is being preserved by medication.

Trials have shown that the brain fingerprinting method is better than other routine tests used in Alzheimer's disease. It could be commercially available in 18 to 24 months.

Source: Chemistry and Industry March 2004 (via www.healthandage.com)

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