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C. Can Brain Imaging Help Measure Early Progression of Alzheimer's Disease?

Narrator: This is Science Today. Several University of California campuses are participating in a bold, 5-year initiative to test whether brain imaging can be combined with other biological and clinical markers to measure the progression of mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease. Dr. William Jagust of UC Berkeley, who leads the initiative's research on PET scans, says this initiative is rare.

Jagust: First of all, it's a public-private partnership. It actually involves the pharmaceutical industry, NIH and academia and to my knowledge, that kind of interaction is unusual, if not unique. Second of all, it's very large and the reason is there are many technical factors that have to be overcome.

Narrator: Researchers will see if imaging technologies, like PET and MRI scans, can predict cognitive decline over time and will also learn more about the natural rate of change in brain anatomy and brain function.

Jagust: And looking at these rates of change naturally over time is something that many people are interested in potentially to use as an indicator of a treatment by a drug.

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