Can looking at the brains communication channels help detect dementia earlier?
These connect to neurons in the brain and to the neurons in the rest of the body. Loss of these synapses is common in early dementia.
By using a PET (positron emission tomography) scan, researchers are now able to measure the amount of synapses in the brain.
Looking at healthy volunteers who are at risk of developing dementia because of a mutation in a gene called C9orf72, they found synapse loss was already present many years before symptoms were expected, especially in a part of the brain called the thalamus.
Spotting these changes early could be vital to help those who are at high risk of dementia. Patients will be able to be monitored and begin treatment sooner.