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D. Measuring Blood Flow in the Brain to Detect Alzheimer's Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. A team of research scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center are working to identify imaging markers for detection of Alzheimer's disease, as well as other types of dementia. According to study leader Norbert Schuff, one approach in the past that has been very successful is to measure brain tissue loss.

Schuff: But, you can imagine that before you lose neurons or tissue, there's probably another process, which makes the tissues pathological or sick or ill before it is really lost and shrinks. And people believe that some of the processes involve some kind of a degeneration which is then related to reduced blood flow.

Narrator: Schuff has been studying a non-invasive technique that measures blood flow called arterial spin labeling and has found it can differentiate between patients with Alzheimer's disease and another dementia.

Schuff: This is still at the level of research and the level of research means that we can not use this technique for individual diagnosis.

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