A team of experts at the University of Aberdeen are developing a new scanner which it is hoped will detect diseases earlier.
The new type of MRI scanner will eventually help develop drugs for illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
The team has been awarded another extra £1m to develop the new machine, which will be a world first.
Professor David Lurie, a medical physicist, who is leading the project, said: “Neurodegenerative diseases are a serious concern with more than 850,000 cases in the UK, and numbers are expected to double in the next 40 years because of our ageing population.
“There is an urgent need for new drugs that could be used earlier to slow disease progression but none currently exist and one of the major barriers to that is the difficulty of early diagnosis of disease.
“In the case of Parkinson’s, for example, the disease is diagnosed purely from clinical symptoms because imaging methods are not currently available to detect early changes in the brain before the symptoms actually develop.
“New technology like Zero-Field MRI could hopefully allow us to see diseases at an earlier stage. This would also be of great help to drug companies who use what are called biomarkers in the body to measure how a disease is progressing and to monitor if a drug treatment is actually working.”
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