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Blood check for early dementia diagnosis

A team of medical researchers, led by Prof. Masanori Nakagawa of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, has started examining the state of information-transmission functions in the brain as a new way to detect signs of dementia before the development of its subjective symptoms. This is intended for early treatment of dementia patients.
Under the new examination system, the team detects the flow of blood in the brain with near-infrared light, analyzing how blood moves when nerve cells communicate information with each other during thinking and concentration. With 42 electrodes attached to the head, a patient arbitrarily voices as many animal or vegetable names as possible in one minute. Focusing on changes in blood flows in that process, researchers examine the degree of activity in the frontal lobe, which controls long-term memory (photo). Popular in the diagnosis of dementia at present is checking brain images with verbal tests and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system. However, this method is ineffective in detecting signs of the disease before it begins to show some symptoms. With the new examination method, the team is said to have confirmed the possibility of grasping signs eventually leading to dementia before the disease develops.

For inquiries, please contact Hospital Management Div., Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine.
(Tel: 075-251-5233; URL: http://www.kpu-m.ac.jp/)