New Test to Help Detect Alzheimer’s Disease
How does the test work? It is only for patients who are showing signs of cognitive decline and are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease. Florbetapir is a radioactive agent which is administered intravenously. It attaches to amyloid plaques in the brain and makes them appear visible during a PET scan. If the scan shows few amyloid plaques, then Alzheimer’s is less likely to be the cause of the patient’s cognitive problems. However, if the scan shows many plaques, then it is an indication of Alzheimer’s disease.
The benefit to the scan is that if a patient does have Alzheimer’s, the earlier it is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. Since treatment can slow the progression of the disease, the sooner the diagnosis, the better. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at http://www.alz.org/.
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