On average, people can expect to live beyond 71—roughly five years longer than life expectancy in 2000. While this is good news, as the human lifespan expands we expect to see an increase in Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most unfortunate afflictions of aging. This brain-shrinking illness has emerged as one of the world’s biggest public health challenges because it is difficult to diagnose and there is no cure, but cutting-edge technology is providing renewed hope.
Alzheimer’s and NeuroQuant
Researchers estimate there are 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia. Alzheimer’s is the culprit in up to 80 percent of these cases. For more than two decades, Intermountain Medical Imaging (IMI) has been the leader in offering state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services to residents and the medical community of the Treasure Valley. Our board-certified radiologists stay up-to-date on the latest medical tests and procedures and deliver results to referring physicians and patients to ensure that the appropriate and best care is provided fast. Now, with the availability of the NeuroQuant— leading-edge technology with the ability to help diagnose Alzheimer’s—we are helping physicians and patients with early diagnosis.
NeuroQuant is an FDA-approved technology that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain to measure the volume of various areas of the brain that shrink with Alzheimer’s. Results, when compared to the results of healthy adults of the same age, help physicians determine whether or not a patient has Alzheimer’s and increases the likelihood of early detection. They also allow physicians to monitor disease progress.
Why Early Detection is Important
Doctors use the NeuroQuant results to increase their diagnostic confidence in the assessment of your memory changes and memory loss. In many cases, a memory loss evaluation is difficult because it can be caused by a multitude of conditions. Early detection is important for both the patient and the physician for the following reasons:
- It allows the physician to educate their patient about treatment options
- Patients are more likely to be able to participate in clinical trials
- While treatments do not cure the condition, they may slow its progress
- The patient will be better able to understand their diagnosis and treatment options
- The patient can plan for their future more effectively
Conditions that Mimic Alzheimer’s
By measuring brain volume, NeuroQuant provides a valuable, objective measure of brain health and helps physicians diagnose the underlying cause of memory loss and other cognitive symptoms.
When memory loss is the result of treatable medical and emotional conditions, the NeuroQuant results will read as normal providing additional confirmation that symptoms are not caused by Alzheimer’s. However, when memory loss is caused by accelerated brain cell loss, the NeuroQuant results will show a brain volume that is below average for your age and gender.
Medical Conditions that may cause Memory Loss include:
- Brain Tumors
- Thyroid, Kidney, or Liver disorders
- Head Trauma
- Medication side effects
- Low levels of essential vitamins and minerals (B12 for example)
In addition to the treatable medical conditions listed above, memory loss can be related to emotional problems such as stress, anxiety or depression. The confusion and forgetfulness caused by these emotional states are usually temporary and go away when the feelings fade and are typically treatable with counseling, medication or both.
If you are experiencing memory loss and confusion, our physicians can use NeuroQuant to help diagnose your condition. It eliminates or confirms Alzheimer’s as a cause and gives patients the benefits associated with early diagnosis. Receiving treatment early may give patients more quality time with their loved ones and puts plans for the future back in their hands.