PET for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s: What Can a PET Scan with Amyvid Show?

Most people are familiar with PET scans as a technology used for learning how far cancers have spread in the body. PET, which stands for Positron Emission Tomography, is known for being incredibly accurate, able to pinpoint the exact location of cancer cells. For this reason, PET scans are one of a physician’s most valuable tools.

But it might do more than showing where cancer in the body is.

New science is showing that PET scans when used with Amyvid (florbetapir) can predict Alzheimer’s and the weakening of the cognitive system that comes with the disease. While other tools have been used in the past and are still currently being used, such as metabolic imaging and an assessment of the Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF), PET scans with Amyvid are proving to be even more promising.

A radioactive dye, Amyvid is able to help physicians predict which patients will develop Alzheimer’s in the future by identifying beta-amyloid plaque. When this plaque is present in a scan it helps to diagnose individuals with dementia symptoms as having Alzheimer’s.

Oftentimes patients with dementia symptoms are misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer’s. This can lead to hefty costs in medical bills and a dangerous misunderstanding of what is causing the underlying problems. By using PET scans with Amyvid to identify the plaque, physicians can more confidently diagnose, perhaps even predict, Alzheimer’s.

This type of testing also helps patients keep any fears of the disease progressing in the near future at bay.

Unfortunately, PET scans aren’t always easy to gain access to for patients that are dealing with dementia symptoms. The hope is that as more research is done showing the benefit of using this type of technology to diagnose and predict Alzheimer’s, more physicians and their patients will be able to gain access and help ensure that individuals receive the treatment necessary.

It should be noted that the FDA has approved the use of Amyvid in cases of dementia for diagnosis or treatment of Alzheimer’s.

This study is performed at our Baystate MRI and Imaging Center in Springfield, MA.

To learn more about PET scans, click here.