A new type of brain scan is better at discovering early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study in Italy.

The diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) technique may prove important to earlier detection and in turn better treatment as it maps fibre tracts that connect regions within the brain, researcher said.

Tor Vergata University scientist Giovanni Carlesimo, who led the study, said that the research was conducted on 67 healthy people in Rome aged 20–80.

“DTI, along with MRI, could serve as an important tool in understanding how and why a person experiences memory decline,” Carlesimo said.

According to the World Health Organization, 37 million people worldwide, including 5.3 million in the US are estimated to be living with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease causing the majority of cases.