Researchers belonging to Lund University have come up with an imaging technique that can unravel the spread of specific tau protein depositions. Those are related to Alzheimer’s.
Tau protein that builds tangles within the brain cells and then spreads later from temporal lobes to elsewhere in the brain, alongside beta-amyloid protein that is in the form of a plaque in the brain and spreads throughout the brain several years before symptoms start showing, have been linked to Alzheimer’s.
When the tau begins to spread, neurons start dying and the initial symptoms of the disease start showing. This was explained by Rik Ossenkoppele, a senior researcher at Amsterdam Medical Center and Lund University.
He further added that whenever a scan reveals memory issues and also shows that the patient has tau in the brain, it is a clear cut sign that he or she has Alzheimer’s.
This was discovered after the researchers studied 719 patients in memory clinics in San Francisco, Sweden, and Seoul from 2014 to 2017. The patients had to go through a specific Tau Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. It used radioactive markers which find their way to various parts of the body.
The particular tau marker was administered intravenously to the patient, explained further Oskar Hansson who is professor of Lund University. The marker finds out the tau in particular parts of the brain if the patient has it, that is. The PET images depict clearly if the Alzheimer tau is present or absent.