Healthcare systems worldwide are expected to come under intense pressure as about 35 million people around the world will be suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD) by the year 2010.
In a special issue of the journal Behavioural Neurology
, twelve contributions from an international group of researchers discuss imaging techniques that may contribute to early diagnosis and advancements in treatment for this devastating disease.
As life expectancy increases across the globe, the incidence of AD rises dramatically. Currently, AD care costs US Medicare and Medicaid and businesses over $148 billion dollars per year. With an aging population, these costs could potentially triple by 2050. With the prevalence of AD doubling with every decade of life after age 75, merely delaying the onset of AD by five years would produce a 50% decrease in the prevalence of disease.
According to Guest Editor Adam S. Fleisher, M.D., M.A.S., Associate Director of Brain Imaging at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, "To effectively target prevention therapies at the pre-clinical stage of the disease, we must develop biomarkers which accurately predict future dementia. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) offer great promise as biomarkers for identifying underlying structural, functional and disease specific pathology in AD, MCI and related disease processes."
In this volume, imaging experts present both reviews of the latest developments in this field as well as original work, supporting the conviction that neuroimaging will be of crucial importance in tackling this globally pervasive disease.