DPUK's NTAD study finds MEG brain scanners are very sensitive to Alzheimer's disease
12 February 2024
Juliette Lanksey at the University of Cambridge is part of the team that has recently completed the New Therapeutics in Alzheimer's Disease study (NTAD) as part of the Experimental Medicine Hub.
The New Therapeutics in Alzheimer's Disease study (NTAD) has shown that MEG brain scanners are very sensitive to Alzheimer’s disease, its severity and progression.
Our team measured the tiny magnetic fields produced by the brain as it works – for example in listening to sounds. We used a measure of the healthy brain called the mismatch negativity response, MMN. We found this brain activity was reduced in people with Alzheimer’s disease (figure 1a) and was further reduced after just 16-months when followed-up (figure 1b).
People with more severe Alzheimer’s disease (lower mini-mental state examination scores) had lost more of this brain response than people with mild Alzheimer’s disease (figure 1c).
An important part of this study was to show the MEG scanning method is “trial ready” to support early-phase clinical trials. For example, the results were highly reliable, with 95% similarity when the test was repeated after a couple of weeks. These are key features required to support early-phase clinical trials.
Figure 1 Magnetic fields produced by the brain in response to an auditory ‘mismatch’ task are attenuated for a) people with Alzheimer’s disease compared to controls b) people with Alzheimer’s disease after 16 months and c) people with more sever Alzheimer’s disease (lower MMSE cognitive scores). AD, Alzheimer’s disease; MMSE, mini-mental state examination scores