The University of Aarhus in Jutland has developed software that can help doctors diagnose incipient Alzheimer's Disease, epilepsy, depression and other neurological or mental diseases at an earlier stage than previously. The invention is expected to lead to better treatment, writes professional journal lngeniøren (The Engineer).
Brain Reader software can be used to compare screen images from an MR scanning of a patient's brain with images of a healthy brain, thereby enabling the doctors to see whether the patient has early signs of a serious disease.
Jamila Ahdidan Madsen PhD in bioinformatics, who has developed the software, comments: "With Brain Reader we can calculate standard deviations a lot more reliably than with the method used so far. It is very promising for treatment of neurological diseases in the future:"
Studies of the brain indicate that Alzheimer's Disease and epilepsy manifest themselves as physical changes in the brain in the form of a shrinkage of brain tissue in the hippocampus, a part of the brain which influences emotions, memory and stress reactions.
Whereas it is difficult to determine abnormalities in the hippocampus with current use of 2D images of the brain, the new system can show whether the hippocampus's size and structures are normal by constructing a 3D image that functions as a reference model of the normal hippocampus.
Professor Bente Pakkenberg, who is conducting research in Alzheimer's Disease at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen says: "The earlier we can diagnose the disease, the faster we can start a substitution treatment the day we have the right drug. So it is very interesting that new software products are being developed which can enhance the opportunity for making the right diagnosis."
Brain Reader is expected to reach the market in May this year.