Can Patients Unique Brain Imaging Fingerprints Direct Clinical Management?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Researchers for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative from the Montreal Neurology Institute and Hospital (Montreal, Canada) have published results in the journal Neuroimaging, regarding what they call a personalized therapeutic intervention fingerprint (pTIF) that can be used to categorize patients with neurological disease according to therapeutic needs.  This suggests that imaging studies, not only genetic tests, may become part of the drive towards personalized health care, especially in neurology, in which personalized medicine is more challenging both because of methodological challenges and the inability to predict the brain's response to therapeutic interventions.

Using multimodal longitudinal imaging of amyloid-β, metabolic and tau PET, vascular, functional and structural MRI, the research followed an aging population (n = 331) composed of persons with and without symptoms of cognitive. They found that the resulting composite that they term the pTIF outperformed cognitive and clinical evaluations for predicting individual variability in gene expression profiles. Regrouping subjects by predicted primary single-target interventions based on DNA analysis, the researchers found that imaging studies showed similarly altered molecular pathway signatures in each group, supporting that the pTIF could help differentiate dissimilar pathological stages across a population. The researchers further suggest that such imaging may also correspond to different therapeutic needs.

First author of the study, Yasser Iturria-Medina, stated “Our future work will focus on applying the pTIF to other neurological disorders, extensively validating it, and, importantly, making the resulting analytic tools available to the international community, via open-access platforms.”

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