Innovative techniques helped clinicians monitor disease progression and treatment success for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
Neurodegeneration is an incurable, debilitating process which presents a growing medical and economic challenge due to our aging population. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, and while their symptoms differ, there are similarities between the underlying changes to the brain in each disease: both involve the build-up of certain proteins in the brain and the destruction of brain cells. Currently, there are no minimally invasive diagnostic tools which allow for early diagnosis or monitoring of the progression of these diseases in patients. This project helped to address this by exploring innovative techniques for early diagnosis and monitoring, based on non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging approaches, and developed improved clinical assessment protocols focused on monitoring declining motor and cognitive functions and increasing behavioural, communicative and psychological symptoms. By working directly with clinicians, the tools and protocols developed are ready for implementation in partnering hospital laboratories, ultimately leading to improved diagnosis and dose monitoring for patients.