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MRI Can Detect Cognitive Decline in Parkinson’s Patients

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An MRI scan that detects atrophy patterns in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients also can detect cognitive decline in Parkinson’s patients.

Thirty patients with Parkinson’s disease and 22 control subjects underwent 3-T magnetic resonance imaging. Compared with control subjects, patients with Parkinson’s disease displayed significantly higher imaging resolution.

These findings demonstrate that magnetic resonance imaging of the brain’s grey matter structures is useful for the evaluation of Parkinson’s disease. 

Investigators say this technology can predict which patients with Parkinson’s disease will experience long-term cognitive decline or develop dementia in the future. Close to 80% of Parkinson’s patients develop dementia as the disease progresses.

“Diagnostic tests like this can help us determine which patients would benefit from future clinical trials of medications aiming to stave off or prevent dementia progression in Parkinson’s disease,” the study’s lead author, Daniel Weintraub, M.D., said.

The study was published online in the journal Brain.

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