Research Highlight

Brain imaging tool for Alzheimer's

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.40 Published online 23 March 2012

Researchers Pravat Mandal and Manjari Tripathi.

© Pravat Mandal

A new imaging technique promises to be a quick and non-invasive alternative for diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The technique tracks specific chemical changes in the brain and the acidity level in the hippocampus areas to detect the disease.

This new technique can be applied in less than 15 minutes, according to the researchers.

Four different brain chemicals from the hippocampus show characteristic changes in pre-Alzheimer (mild cognitive impairment) and Alzheimer patients. Memory problem and other behavioral problems are common among Alzheimer's patients.

The new imaging test will add a new dimension by quantifying significant changes of the four brain chemicals. Apart from these changes, the left hippocampus becomes alkaline in Alzheimer patients. All this critical information was obtained from the same experiment in less than 15 minutes.

"Measurement of changing levels of these brain chemicals and the acidity level of the hippocampus could be a potential clinical diagnostic tool for AD", says lead researcher Pravat Mandal. A bigger study with more patients sample size is needed to advance this research, he added.

The authors of this work are from: Neurospectroscopy and Neuroimaging Laboratory, National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon and Department of Neurology, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


  1. Mandal. P. K. et al. Mapping of Hippocampal pH and Neurochemicals from in vivo Multi-Voxel 31P Experiments in Healthy Normal Young Male/Female, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer's Patients. J. Alzheimers Dis. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-120166 (2012)