For the first time, PET scans could detect Alzheimer’s early 5



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For the first time ever, neuroscientists have been able to track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This major medical advancement is thanks to PET scans, which highlight proteins associated with Alzheimer’s. This breakthrough could lead to early diagnoses and improved Alzheimer’s treatments!

Researchers at the University of California Berkley have used positron emission tomography (commonly known as PET scans) to trace Alzheimer’s disease within the brain. They have sought two key proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, known as “tau” and “beta amyloid”.

PET scans have also allowed researchers to track Alzheimer’s disease within cognitively normal adults, a development which could lead to the early diagnosis of this crippling neurodisorder. “This opens the door to the use of PET scans as a diagnostic and staging too”, said lead research Dr Willian Jagust.

Currently, ‘Braak Staging’ helps clarify the development of Alzheimer’s disease. However, this can only be performed when the brain is being autopsied. “Our study is the first to show the staging in people who are not only alive – but who have no signs of cognitive impairment”, explained Dr Jagust.

As Science Daily points out, ” while a number of symptoms exist that signal Alzheimer’s disease, a definitive diagnosis has been possible only through an examination of the brain after the patient has died… (Now PET scans can be) used to detect early signs of disease by looking at cellular-level changes in organs and tissue”.

What a remarkable breakthrough. Is somebody you know living with Alzheimer’s disease? Could this information offer them new hope?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Once it has been diagnosed, what treatment is there to cure or slow it.

    1 REPLY
    • When my Mum had Alzheimer’s in the final years of her life, the geriatrician prescribed Aricept which slowed the progression of the illness.

  2. Alzheimers is such a cruel disease. Anything that can be done to help the person with it and their loved ones is a blessing.

  3. Is this PET scan available in Australia?

    1 REPLY
    • My husband’s alzheimers diagnosis was by changes detected on PET scan 7 years ago in Melbourne. (At the Austin Hospital)

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