Diagnosis of probable Alzheimer disease (AD) is made by a combination of characteristic clinical findings, when normal laboratory studies reveal no structural or metabolic cause of the dementia. Definite diagnosis of AD, however, can only be made with brain tissue examination. PET scanning reveals parietotemporal decreases in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and glucose metabolism that differentiate AD from normal elderly and from multi-infarct dementia. Preliminary studies suggest that similar defects in CBF are detectable in single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in AD. Utilizing the iodinated ligand [123I] HIPDM ([123I] hydroxyiodobenzylpropanediamine), we studied 19 patients with probable AD of varying severity, with emphasis on mild cases, to assess the utility of SPECT as a diagnostic test in AD. Parietotemporal perfusion on SPECT was decreased unilaterally or bilaterally in 16 of 19 AD patients, similar to the defects reported with PET. The degree and extent of decreased CBF on SPECT correlated with AD severity. Strong correlations were obtained between decreases in computer-generated ratios of parietal to cerebellar activity and the level of cognitive function. SPECT was read as normal (on the radiographic film) by the nuclear medicine physician in all cases with Mini-Mental State (MMS) score greater than 24, and showed bilateral parietal perfusion deficits in only 1 of 4 patients with MMS between 22 and 24. Ten of 12 patients with MMS less than or equal to 21 had bilateral parietal abnormalities; the other 2 had unilateral perfusion defects. All patients with MMS less than 15 were bilaterally abnormal. SPECT is less expensive and more widely available than PET, and may have an adjunctive role in diagnosis of AD and other dementias if utilized under the proper circumstances.
"There is increasing evidence that vascular dysfunction, reduced cerebral blood flow and AD are interdependent pathological processes . In large epidemiological studies, cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis, obesity) have emerged as risk factors for AD (DeKosky et al., 1990; Johnson et al., 2005; Ruitenberg et al., 2005; Mak et al., 2012). Brain ischemia and stroke were reported to increase the risk of dementia and AD (de la Torre, 2005; Dickstein et al., 2010). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that deficient clearance of β-amyloid (Aβ) contributes to its accumulation in late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD). Several Aβ-degrading enzymes, including neprilysin (NEP), endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE), and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) reduce Aβ levels and protect against cognitive impairment in mouse models of AD. In post-mortem human brain tissue we have found that the activity of these Aβ-degrading enzymes rise with age and increases still further in AD, perhaps as a physiological response that helps to minimize the build-up of Aβ. ECE-1/-2 and ACE are also rate-limiting enzymes in the production of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and angiotensin II (Ang II), two potent vasoconstrictors, increases in the levels of which are likely to contribute to reduced blood flow in AD. This review considers the possible interdependence between Aβ-degrading enzymes, ischemia and Aβ in AD: ischemia has been shown to increase Aβ production both in vitro and in vivo, whereas increased Aβ probably enhances ischemia by vasoconstriction, mediated at least in part by increased ECE and ACE activity. In contrast, NEP activity may help to maintain cerebral perfusion, by reducing the accumulation of Aβ in cerebral blood vessels and lessening its toxicity to vascular smooth muscle cells. In assessing the role of Aβ-degrading proteases in the pathogenesis of AD and, particularly, their potential as therapeutic agents, it is important to bear in mind the multifunctional nature of these enzymes and to consider their effects on other substrates and pathways.
"Higher extent of white matter lesions in MCI patients is associated with higher risk of progression of MCI to dementia of any kind (Wolf et al., 2000). In MCI patients, there is a regional hypoperfusion on SPECT examination in hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex (Johnson et al., 1998), and in AD patients the perfusion is decreased in whole temporoparietal region and correlates with the disease severity (DeKosky et al., 1990) [AD patient with varying disease severity were divided into four groups according to mini-mental state examination (MMSE): >24; 22–24; 15–21; <15]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been a growing interest in vascular impairment associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). This interest was stimulated by the findings of higher incidence of vascular risk factors in AD. Signs of vascular impairment were investigated notably in the field of imaging methods. Our aim was to explore ultrasonographic studies of extra- and intracranial vessels in patients with AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and define implications for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the disease. The most frequently studied parameters with extracranial ultrasound are intima-media thickness in common carotid artery, carotid atherosclerosis, and total cerebral blood flow. The transcranial ultrasound concentrates mostly on flow velocities, pulsatility indices, cerebrovascular reserve capacity, and cerebral microembolization. Studies suggest that there is morphological and functional impairment of cerebral circulation in AD compared to healthy subjects. Ultrasound as a non-invasive method could be potentially useful in identifying individuals in a higher risk of progression of cognitive decline.
"Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a technique that is quite similar to PET and its application to dementia using radiotracers that track cerebral perfusion has produced results that are largely similar to PET scanning of glucose metabolism in clinical diagnostic applications (Bonte et al., 1986; DeKosky et al., 1990; Holman et al., 1992; Miller et al., 1991). SPECT studies have been shown to predict decline in MCI (Johnson et al., 1998) and are related to autopsy findings (Bonte et al., 1997; Jagust et al., 2001). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last 20 years, there has been extraordinary progress in brain imaging research and its application to the study of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Brain imaging researchers have contributed to the scientific understanding, early detection and tracking of AD. They have set the stage for imaging techniques to play growing roles in the clinical setting, the evaluation of disease-modifying treatments, and the identification of demonstrably effective prevention therapies. They have developed ground-breaking methods, including positron emission tomography (PET) ligands to measure fibrillar amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition, new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pulse sequences, and powerful image analysis techniques, to help in these endeavors. Additional work is needed to develop even more powerful imaging methods, to further clarify the relationship and time course of Aβ and other disease processes in the predisposition to AD, to establish the role of brain imaging methods in the clinical setting, and to provide the scientific means and regulatory approval pathway needed to evaluate the range of promising disease-modifying and prevention therapies as quickly as possible. Twenty years from now, AD may not yet be a distant memory, but the best is yet to come.
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