From Science Daily:

Neuroscientist Anne Hafkemeijer is able to distinguish two different forms of dementia using advanced imaging techniques. This is the first step towards early recognition of dementia in patients on the basis of brain networks.

Early diagnosis

In her PhD research Hafkemeijer used MRI scans to detect changes in brain networks that occur as a result of ageing and dementia. She studied both the structure and the function of these networks. What do these brains look like and how does their function change as people age or suffer from dementia? Previously, people looked mainly at separate areas of the brain, but cognitive functions, such as memory, are not located in one area of the brain. As these functions are the result of brain areas working together, it is very important to be able to study the areas in detail. The research findings help us make a distinction between different forms of dementia. Early detection is important for the patient, his environment, the treatment plan and the prognosis.

Using advanced techniques

Hafkemeijer is a specialist in the methodology and statistics of psychology and she conducted her research in partnership with the LUMC, the Amsterdam VUmc and the Erasmus MC Rotterdam. ‘Each specific form of dementia has its own development course and symptoms,’ Hafkemeijer explains. She studied two of these forms. ‘With Alzheimer’s, memory declines whereas frontotemporal dementia affects the front part of the brain. These changes cause a noticeable change in behaviour. We used new advanced imaging techniques to show these changes…

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