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Using PET and MRI scans to diagnose cause of dementia


Narrator:            This is Science Today. Imaging technologies, such as PET and MRI scanning, have given researchers a glimpse into the biochemistry of the human brain, as well as its anatomy and structure. William Jagust, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says when you put all this information together, you can get a very detailed picture of how the brain is functioning — and how it changes with age.

Jagust:            We've done a number of studies now where we're using this technology in people who have cognitive loss and dementia and we're finding that this may be a very useful way to diagnose the cause of dementia during life. We're still in the process of working on these studies, but we think that this is going to provide very useful information for the diagnosis of dementia. Most important is we can follow them over time and see what happens to them and see if they're cognitive function starts to decline or if they are developing problems.

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