Drug formulations and suitable methods for their detection play a very crucial role in the development of therapeutics towards degenerative neurological diseases. For diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive clinical technique suitable for early diagnosis. In this review, we will discuss the different experimental conditions which can push MRI as the technique of choice and the gold standard for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we describe and compare various techniques for administration of nanoparticles targeted to the brain and suitable formulations of nanoparticles for use as magnetically active therapeutic probes in drug delivery targeting the brain. We explore different physiological pathways involved in the transport of such nanoparticles for successful entry in the brain. In our lab, we have used different formulations of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) and protein nanocages as contrast agents in anatomical MRI of an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain. We compare these coatings and their benefits to provide the best contrast in addition to biocompatibility properties to be used as sustainable drug-release systems. In the later sections, the contrast enhancement techniques in MRI studies are discussed. Examples of contrast-enhanced imaging using advanced pulse sequences are discussed with the main focus on important studies in the field of neurological diseases. In addition, T1 contrast agents such as gadolinium chelates are compared with the T2 contrast agents mainly made of superparamagnetic inorganic metal nanoparticles.
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