Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging of Brain DNA Methylation

Drs. Li, Robinson, Liang, Silverman and Mr. Lam from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new noninvasive method of measuring epigenetic changes in a living human brain, specifically DNA methylation, which is related to memory formation. Its main application is diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. Exiting imaging techniques for Alzheimer’s diagnosis reveal only the presence of amyloid plaques. Even though amyloid plaques in the brain are a characteristic feature of Alzheimer's disease, their presence cannot be used to diagnose the disease. This new method allows tracking methylation in brain which is directly responsible for memory formation, and therefore it is a more accurate indicator of Alzheimer's disease. The method is noninvasive, and allows for a more flexible administration of the contrast medium.