Alzheimer’s disease annually affects millions of people all over the world. The disease damages the critical thinking of individuals. According to recent statistics, the number of people suffering from the disease is increasing rapidly. As a result, the cost of taking care of these patients is pretty heavy and increasing with every passing year.
The latest figure disclosed by the Alzheimer’s Association is as follows:
- Currently, 5.4 million Americans are afflicted with the disease.
- Two-thirds of these people are women.
- 1 in 8 Americans aged 65 ore more has Alzheimer’s
- In America, it is the sixth leading cause of overall death. For people aged 65 or more, Alzheimer’s disease is the 5th leading cause of death.
- 14.9 million people (family members and friends) provided unpaid care for 17 billion hours to the people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2010.
- In 2011, the expenses estimated for taking care of the Americans living with Alzheimer’s will amount to $183 billion.
Diagnosis of $183 Alzheimer’s
In April of 2011, three eminent workgroups – National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association – developed new guidelines and criteria to diagnose the disease. The latest criterion stretches the definition of the disease and includes two phases of Alzheimer’s –
Pre-Symptomatic, Mildly-Symptomatic along with Dementia caused by the disease.
From the latest definition and criterion for diagnosis, it is clear that the disease starts by creating measurable and distinct changes in the brain of the patients affected with the disease for decades or more before making noticeable symptoms.
If Alzheimer’s is detected earlier, it helps both patients and their physicians. Early detection helps the doctors to make their patients aware of different treatment options. This way, the patients will be able to evaluate the available options and make a workable plan for their future. Unfortunately, researchers have yet to find out a definite test for early detection. However, a diagnostic test with the help of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) as well as distinct post-processing volumetric software is available. The program, known as NeuroQuant, is unique to help diagnose Alzheimer’s.
Advantages of NeuroQuant
At a local brain MRI center, NeuroQuant makes a thorough analysis of MRI images of the brain to find out the volume of temporal horn, hippocampus and other parts of the brain. Hippocampus is responsible for spatial navigation and memory. Researchers have discovered that shrinkage in the total brain volume, particularly in the hippocampus, causes Alzheimer’s.
NeuroQuant generates two reports – Atrophy Report related to age and General Morphometry Report along with color-coded brain segmentation. The first report reveals the relative as well as the absolute volume of the inferior lateral ventricles and hippocampus. The reported values are then compared to age-related reference distributions. The General Morphometry report discloses the relative and absolute volume of the key parts of the left and right side of the brain.
Doctors may use these two reports along with the color-coded images of the brain to find out measurable atrophy of the brain. NeuroQuant helps physicians have a ‘baseline’ study of any patient’s brain if Alzheimer’s is suspected and suggest follow-ups after a regular interval to assess the progression of the disease.