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Predicting Alzheimer's disease before the onset of symptoms

This is Science Today. A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that brain imaging shows promise as a method of detecting early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Research scientist, Susan Landau, says their nationwide study looked at genetic neuroimaging, cerebral spinal fluid proteins and cognitive tests.

Landau:          We found that when we looked at all of those factors compared to one another, performance on a cognitive test of memory recall combined with glucose metabolism measured by brain imaging were the factors that most strongly predicted conversion to Alzheimer's disease over about a two-year period.

Narrator:        Landau says the goal of their study is to predict who will develop Alzheimer's disease before any symptoms have started.

Landau:          Because there's some thinking in the field right now that once people start experiencing cognitive decline, it may be too late to reverse that cognitive decline or any brain decline that has happened.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.