NeuroQuant: Medical Imaging Aid to Early Detection of Alzheimer’s

Early detection of Alzheimer’s has benefits to both physicians and patients.  Early diagnosis allows the physician to educate the patient of the various treatment options available to them, and the patient will have an understanding of what is happening, and therefore, will be able to evaluate their options and plan for their future. While there is no definitive test for early detection of Alzheimer’s, one option available today is a diagnostic test using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a special post processing volumetric software called NeuroQuant.

NeuroQuant analyzes high resolution images from a MRI scan of the brain to quantify the volume of the hippocampus, temporal horn, and other structures of the brain. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and spatial navigation. Researchers have found that Alzheimer’s occurs when there is atrophy (shrinkage) of the volume of the total brain, and specifically the hippocampus.

NeuroQuant produces two reports:

  • An Age-Related Atrophy report,
  • A General Morphometry report; and color-coded brain segmentation

The Age-Related Atrophy report contains the absolute and relative volumes of the hippocampus and inferior lateral ventricles. The resulting values are compared to age-appropriate reference distributions. The General Morphometry report provides the absolute and relative volumes for key structures of the right and left side of the brain.  Physicians may use these reports, and the color-coded brain images, to measure atrophy of the brain.

NeuroQuant may also be used for comparative purposes.  Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, so physicians may get a “baseline” study of a patient’s brain when there is a suspicion of Alzheimer’s, and then have follow up exams at prescribed times to see if the brain atrophied, and if so, at what rate.  In addition, the standard MRI brain evaluation performed with NeuroQuant assists the clinician in determining other potential causes of dementia such as vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease, fronto-temporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and pseudo-dementia related to major depression.

Desert Medical Imaging performs the NeuroQuant exam at our Indian Wells facility. The exams takes 30 minutes and requires no preparation and is covered by most major insurances.