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Observing brain network dynamics to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease

The new imaging technique could help with the early detection of Alzheimer's disease. (Credit: EPFL/Dimitri Van De Ville)

By MedicalXpress and  Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, July 17, 2015 – Various types of information can be ascertained by the way blood flows through the brain. When a region of the brain has been activated, blood flow increases and oxygenation rises. By observing variations in blood flow with the help of non-invasive imaging, it is possible to determine which regions are at work at a given point in time and how they work together.

On the basis of this principle, researchers Isik Karahanoglu and Dimitri Van De Ville have managed to visualize the different activation regions of the brain. They combined a new modeling technique and a medical imaging technique in a project bridging EPFL and the University of Geneva (UNIGE). The research, published in Nature Communications, provides new insights into how the brain organizes itself, and sets the stage for early diagnosis of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, in which these networks break down.

In most brain-related disorders, several neural networks – rather than an isolated region – break down. Understanding how the regions interact provides insight into how these disorders work.

Originally published by MedicalXpress.com on July 16, 2015 

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