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HUS/Tero HanskiTools for diagnosing Alzheimer’s                                                              www.salwe.fid...
“Sensory gating is impaired among                                          patients with mild cognitive impairment        ...
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Tools for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease in early stage

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Tools for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease in early stage

  1. 1. HUS/Tero HanskiTools for diagnosing Alzheimer’s www.salwe.fidisease in early stageA project launched in SalWe’s Mind and Body Programme has focused on studying the diagnosis ofmild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, by using auditory event-related potentials.Alzheimer’s disease is a slow and progressively wors- about one percent of the world’s GNP. The number ofening disease of the brain, characterised by damage these patients is expected to double in the next 20 years.to specific brain regions. Diagnosis of the disease atthe earliest possible stage has high priority because As many as 120,000 people in Finland suffer from themedications are available to slow the symptoms of syndrome of mild cognitive impairment.its progress. Sensory gating and Alzheimer’s diseaseApproximately 70,000 people in Finland suffer from A group of researchers in SalWe’s Mind and Body Pro-Alzheimer’s disease. gramme has been studying the presence of the sen- sory gating deficit in mild cognitive impairment andProgressive memory disorders have become a major Alzheimer’s disease by using auditory event-relatedchallenge to health care in Europe and the United potentials. The group consists of researchers from theStates. It has been estimated that, among these diseases, hospital district of Helsinki and Uusimaa, the Univer-Alzheimer’s disease alone causes costs equivalent to sity of Helsinki and Aalto University.SalWe - Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health and Well-being
  2. 2. “Sensory gating is impaired among patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.” Sara Liljander, HUS Medical Imaging Center“The brain’s ability to inhibit incoming repetitive and “The study confirms that the brain’s sensory gatingirrelevant sensory inputs, and thus to avoid sensory mechanism is impaired among patients with mild cog-overload, is known as sensory gating. The mechanism nitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. The resultsis thought to be related to the cholinergic deficit that also suggest that auditory ERPs are applicable to in-is a feature of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Sara Lil- dividual diagnosis of organic brain diseases. It mayjander, a specialising medical physicist at the depart- even be possible to use ERPs to distinguish incipientment of clinical neurophysiology of Jorvi Hospital. Alzheimer’s disease from mild cognitive impairment,” Sara Liljander explains.When brief changes in the electrical activity of thebrain, caused by an external stimulus, are linked to It is possible that GE Healthcare Finland and Elektaa task given to the subject and the subject’s men- use the research findings in their existing measuringtal state, the responses are called event-related po- technology.tentials, or ERPs. Cognitive potentials are generatedin connection with a memory task, recognition of astimulus or some other cognitive process.“ERPs offer an objective, non-invasive and cost-ef- Lisätietojafective method for testing cognitive processes andsensory gating.” Sara Liljander specialising medical physicist HUS Medical Imaging CenterTowards a diagnostic solution Jorvi hospitalThe research was carried out on three groups: patients Clinical neurophysiologywith mild cognitive impairment, patients with incipi- sara.liljander@hus.fi +358 50 428 4308ent Alzheimer’s disease and a normal control group.Audio stimuli were delivered to both ears via head-phones and the state of brain electrical activity was Juhani V. Partanen docent, chief physicianrecorded with an electroencephalogram EEG. HUS Medical Imaging Center Jorvi hospital Clinical neurophysiology juhani.v.partanen@hus.fiSalWe - Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health and Well-being

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