Narrator: This is Science Today. Magnetic resonance imaging scans, or MRI, are a valuable tool in neuroscience. Because the brain shrinks in specific areas in people with Alzheimer's disease, William Jagust, a professor of public health and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, says it's an important tool to possibly predict who will get Alzheimer's disease and it can be used to help treat those with this debilitating, neurological disease.
Jagust: If we had a drug that fundamentally affects Alzheimer's disease, the fundamental disease process, we might expect it would slow the range of brain shrinkage.
Narrator: Jagust is part of a national initiative that will test whether imaging, such as MRI and PET scans, can predict the onset of Alzheimer's. Jagust will lead the PET scan research.
Jagust: The PET scan, in this case, is measuring glucose metabolism and it's known that in Alzheimer's disease, there's reductions of glucose metabolism in the brain and also they tend to occur in specific parts of the brain. What we'll be doing with these PET scans is looking at how glucose metabolism declines over time, both in aging and Alzheimer's disease.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.