Mayo Clinic researchers have developed an algorithm that extracts information on brain deterioration from three-dimensional MRI scans and assigns a severity score by comparing the scan to a large library of scans from patients with Alzheimer’s disease and patients who are cognitively normal.
The score – known as the Structural Abnormality iNDex or STAND score – captures Alzheimer’s disease stage in living people. Mayo Clinic researchers verified the accuracy of STAND scores by comparing 101 patients’ STAND scores with the traditional Braak staging done after death. Additionally, the STAND scores distinguished Alzheimer’s MRI scans from normal scans with 90 percent accuracy.
“We see a great potential for STAND scores,” says Prashanthi Vemuri, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic research fellow and lead author on this study. “It could be used for early identification of Alzheimer’s disease, for tracking the progression and assessing the severity of Alzheimer’s disease in patients, and in the future, it could potentially help test the efficacy of drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.”
Dr. Vemuri presented this study at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease on July 27, 2008.
Dr. Vemuri provides an overview of the study.