Narrator: This is Science Today. Arterial spin labeling is a non-invasive MRI technique that measures the supply of blood flow in the brain. Norbert Schuff, an associate professor of radiology at the University of California , San Francisco , has been using this technique in a study to measure blood flow in areas of the brain affected by degenerative disease.
Schuff: It takes less time and since its non-invasive, you can repeat it over and over again. So, since there's no risk to a patient's health from injections or accumulation of radioactive trace in your body, we can do it over and over again. So, even if the first scanner is not doing very well, we can repeat it and actually, even more important we can do it in such a way that we can measure how blood flow changes in very short time frames.
Narrator: The researchers found that arterial spin labeling could actually distinguish between Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia, which in the early stages, is difficult to do.
Schuff: So, we believe that measuring blood flow might be an even earlier marker of Alzheimers disease or other neurodegenerative diseases than looking at brain shrinkage.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.