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SS2. The assessment of imaging biomarkers

Detailed Programme, abstracts and presentations

Giovanni B. Frisoni, Daniela Perani, Laura Leone

In the field of neurological diseases, over the past two decades, great progress has been registered in identifying the AD-associated structural and molecular changes in the brain and their biochemical footprints. New research criteria for the diagnosis of AD have been advanced in revising the dated NINCDS-ADRDA criteria.

Currently, structural imaging based on MRI is an important part of the clinical assessment of patients with supposed AD. In fact, in the proper clinical context the atrophy of specific structures is considered to be a suitable marker. In addition, MRI is now included in diagnostic criteria for many other dementias, reflecting its primary role in differential diagnosis. The rationale must be sought considering that neurobiological changes occur many years before that the symptoms appear and MRI acquisition can quantify brain atrophy very precisely. Atrophy appears to be a concomitant of neurodegeneration, which progresses inevitably. The map of the brain tissue loss correlates well with cognitive deficits both in cross-sectional studies and longitudinal ones. Rates of change in a number of structural measures correlate closely with changes in cognitive performance, supporting their validity as markers of disease progression. All this pieces of evidence strengthen the role of MRI in the clinical practice.

As far as 18FDG-PET is concerned, nowadays, simple visual inspection of the brain scans obtained with PET are no longer acceptable for diagnostic purposes because of the potential lack of crucial information and often misleading results. Unbiased methods for the detection of functional abnormalities in subjects with neurodegenerative disease are currently mandatory. The automatic detection of abnormal brain metabolism on individual PET scans requires appropriate reference data sets, spatial normalization of scans, statistical algorithms, and suitable display of the results.

To assess neuroimages objectively, tools requiring high computational and storage resources and large reference image datasets are needed. In this context, the idea of DECIDE was born, whose aim is to become an integrated platform able to predict AD progression at the MCI stage and help in the differential diagnosis at the dementia stage.

This workshop is organised by the Decide Consortium.






Last Updated: Wednesday 26 October 2011


  • Acknowledgements

    Alzheimer Europe gratefully acknowledges the support of the following sponsors: Fondation Médéric Alzheimer, Fondation Roi Baudouin, Janssen, Lilly, Pfizer, Sanofi and SCA Global Hygiene
  • Fondation Médéric Alzheimer
  • King Baudouin Foundation
  • SCA Global Hygiene