Scan can check for Alzheimer's

Brain scanning technology may help identify how Alzheimer's disease progresses and who is likely to get the disease, according to new research.

Scientists at London's Hammersmith Hospital scanned more than 60 people, including some with Alzheimer's, some with other memory problems and unaffected people.

The results suggest that scans using a radioactive dye can detect if the disease is present.

The (positron emission tomography) PET scan technique uses a radioactive marker, which binds to a protein called amyloid which forms in the areas of the brain damaged in Alzheimer's disease.

It gives off a fluorescent glow that shows up as red and orange colours on the scan.

The scan can be used to test patients who may present to a clinic with different degrees of memory loss, to testify if they actually have Alzheimer's, or to reassure them that they do not.

The traditional diagnosis of Alzheimer's is based on a patient's symptoms; but these normally occur at a late stage of the disease, when the condition has already been present for some time.

The new scanning technique gives doctors the possibility of spotting this sign of Alzheimer's as the disease takes hold.

Doctors believe early diagnosis in Alzheimerís is important not only to allow prompt treatment, but also to give time for both the patient and their family to prepare for the future.

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Marita - 17/07/2006 13:49

Can this PET scan also show if someone has amyloid in the brain from Cerebal Amyloid Angiopathy. I would be very interested to know as my husband had a brain hem almost a year and a half ago and was told it was caused by amyloid in the brain.

joanie - 29/04/2007 01:59

I feel I may be starting Alzimers, would a brain scan show it up, would it cost me to have a pet scan I am worried

roadunner - 15/03/2008 17:15

Can a daughter in law qualify for carers benefit to look after mother in law with short term memory?. I am in full time work and would leave work to care for her.She lives on her own and my husband and i would move in to care for her,with family back up in place too,so we could go home some nights.

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