Modern imaging technology is leading the way in early diagnosis of the 21st century’s biggest killer

2017-08-03
Dementia Disease Insights

Ever since the first MRI scan of a human body was created over four decades ago, we have seen huge developments in the quality and level of detail included within images produced.


Innovation in this area has unlocked new possibilities for clinicians and researchers, particularly in the fight against diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. With the number of sufferers set to rise to 1 million by 2025, it is crucial that the focus continues to shift to early diagnosis, so that patient outcome is improved and sufferers can look forward to a better quality (and even extended) life, whilst receiving personalised treatment and care.


Siemens Healthineers was the first company to install a commercial MRI system for clinical applications back in 1983, having discovered and developed the technology over the preceding two decades. Now, the MRI scanner is a staple of medical imaging departments the world over, but like many technologies, it has evolved and adapted to suit the needs of clinicians and patients.


The emergence of modern imaging technology, like the ground-breaking MAGNETOM Terra 7 Tesla MRI scanner, means researchers now have the opportunity to study how the brain encodes information, including individual memories. It also allows the potential to see small structures in the brain associated with the early stages of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as those associated with brain injuries and epilepsy. The detail visible today can be as tiny as a grain of sand.


The advancements could spell the end of having to cut into the brain and study a sample under a microscope, meaning the need for risky exploratory surgery is dramatically reduced.
With imaging techniques set to become even more sophisticated, the next 40 years is likely to see the benefits that early diagnosis brings, both for patients, clinicians and the health service on a wider scale.