PET can help with early Alzheimer's diagnosis

By staff writers

September 26, 2013 -- FDG-PET can help diagnose Alzheimer's disease sooner than usual and lead to better patient outcomes through the use of disease-specific medication.

The finding comes from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who presented the study on September 26 at the Medicinal Biotech Forum in China.

A team led by principal investigator Dr. Daniel Silverman, PhD, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology, examined 63 patients who underwent FDG-PET and neuropsychological testing at baseline.

The testing and collection of medication prescription data were repeated every six months for two years. Doctors who were able to view PET scans immediately treated their patients differently than doctors who did not receive scan results until the end of the two-year study.

Approximately 40% of the patients whose doctors knew about the presence of an Alzheimer's brain metabolism pattern were given drugs specifically indicated for dementia within the first six months of the study.

Among patients whose PET scans showed the Alzheimer's metabolism pattern, but who were randomized to the two-year delay, none were prescribed Alzheimer's medications in the first six months, and only 12% were prescribed those medications by the end of the first year.

Copyright © 2013
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