MRI technique detects cognitive decline before symptoms

7 October 2014

A new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique can spot signs of cognitive decline in the brain before the patient complains of any symptoms.

This is according to a new study published in the journal Radiology and could see the analysis serve as a biomarker for the very early stages of preclinical dementia. 

Early detection is critical for people suffering from cognitive decline, as treatments are most effective when delivered during the initial phases.

It is thought that problems in the brain, which eventually lead to dementia, could be present for years before a diagnosis but are not currently evident because of the brain's cognitive reserve - where the brain compensates for deficits in regions of the organ.

Researchers recently studied arterial spin labeling (ASL), a promising MRI technique that measures brain perfusion - where blood enters tissue.  The findings suggest that individuals with decreased perfusion, which can be picked up by ASL MRI, may temporarily maintain their cognitive status with their cognitive reserve, but will eventually develop subtle cognitive deficits.

Posted by Jeanette Royston​


Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...


Diagnostic imaging

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)