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How new imaging technologies may help advance early diagnosis of Alzheimer's

Without more effective drugs to treat Alzheimer's, experts predict that the number of Americans suffering from the disease will double by 2050 and related health-care costs could be more than $1 trillion annually.

Researchers, including those at Stanford, are working to better understand the changes in spinal fluid, brain size, the appearance of brain plaques and other factors that precede the onset of Alzheimer's in an effort to diagnose and treat the disease earlier.

In this new TEDMED video, Brigham and Women's Hospital neurologist Reisa Sperling, MD, discusses how advances in imaging technologies and other testing techniques can help determine which patients will fall victim to Alzheimer's decades before they develop symptoms. She also talks about why early detection and prevention research is the best defense against a disease.

Previously: Alanna Shaikh talks about preparing for Alzheimer's, Common genetic Alzheimer's risk factor disrupts healthy older women's brain function, but not men's and Alzheimer's disease: Why research is so critical

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