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Will Alzheimer’s Show on an MRI?

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Will Alzheimer’s Show On An MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging or MR is a scan which reveals the anatomic structure of the brain. Generally, an MRI scan is included in the standard evaluation for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The scan is used to rule out problems like tumors, hemorrhage, stroke or hydrocephalus which may present themselves as Alzheimer’s.

An MRI scan can also show the loss of brain mass associated with Alzheimer’s. The hippocampus region of the brain will appear atrophied in an Alzheimer’s patient.

MRI Scans Can Be Inconclusive

Sometimes, MRI scans are inconclusive and more tests may be required. These tests include the positron emission tomography or PET test and the single-photon emission computed tomography, which provide images of brain activity based on blood flow or oxygen consumption.

The tests can help narrow down a diagnosis by revealing deficits common in Alzheimer’s that are distinct from other dementias. Unfortunately, these scans cannot identify the disease with certainty. They cannot reveal the microscopic changes in brain tissue, something that characterizes Alzheimer’s. The good news is that brain scan technology is continuously evolving and soon there will be more definite scan to detect Alzheimer’s.

In short, no blood test, brain scan or physical exam can definitely diagnose Alzheimer’s. The situation is further complicated by the fact that there are many conditions that can produce symptoms resembling those of early Alzheimer’s.

An MRI scan will definitely help to eliminate other conditions that can cause similar symptoms as Alzheimer’s but it cannot be used to give a conclusive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. A more detailed evaluation is required for that.

What Is The Main Cause Of Alzheimer’s Disease?

We won’t be wrong to say that the Alzheimer’s disease comes with age, which is why it is the main cause. However, just like all types of dementia, the actual cause related to Alzheimer’s is the death of brain cells.

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative one, which means that there is progressive brain cell death which happens over time. In a nutshell, the brain tissue of the person suffering from it starts losing its nerve cells and connections, resulting in this disease (or other forms of dementia). Read more about what causes Alzheimer’s.