Sodium MR imaging detection of mild Alzheimer disease: Preliminary study

Eric A. Mellon, D. T. Pilkinton, C. M. Clark, M. A. Elliott, W. R. Witschey, A. Borthakur, R. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: There is significant interest in the development of novel noninvasive techniques for the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD) and tracking its progression. Because MR imaging has detected alterations in sodium levels that correlate with cell death in stroke, we hypothesized that there would be alterations of sodium levels in the brains of patients with AD, related to AD cell death. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 10 volunteers (5 with mild AD and 5 healthy control subjects) were scanned with a 20-minute sodium ( 23Na) MR imaging protocol on a 3T clinical scanner. RESULTS: After normalizing the signal intensity from the medial temporal lobes corresponding to the hippocampus with the ventricular signal intensity, we were able to detect a 7.5% signal intensity increase in the brains of patients with AD (AD group, 68.25% ± 3.4% vs control group, 60.75% ± 2.9%; P < .01). This signal intensity enhancement inversely correlated with hippocampal volume (AD group, 3.22 ± 0.50 cm3 vs control group, 3.91 ± 0.45 cm3; r2 = 0.50). CONCLUSIONS: This finding suggests that sodium imaging may be a clinically useful tool to detect the neuropathologic changes associated with AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-984
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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