A study finds that, with the use of MRI scans, it is possible to distinguish between memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury. The finding is important because it could help prevent a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, which can be devastating for patients and their families. One study found that as many as 21 percent of older adults with dementia may be misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Using a software program to analyze the MRI scans, the study revealed that TBI caused the most damage to a brain region known as the ventral diencephalon, with the least amount of atrophy occurring in the hippocampus. The ventral diencephalon is associated with learning and emotions, whereas the hippocampus is involved in memory and emotions. The hippocampus also is the region of the brain that is most impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.