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A decade of research proves PET effectively detects dementia
Date:1/6/2012

nations, while another disorder, called frontotemporal dementia, can be seen in patients showing uncharacteristic personality changes and difficulties in relating and communicating. Physicians can use FDG-PET with high accuracy to not only help diagnose dementia but also differentiate between the individual disorders. The role molecular imaging plays in the diagnosis of dementia has expanded enough that the official criteria physicians use to diagnose patients now includes evidence from molecular imaging studies.

"For the first time, imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease are included in the newly revised clinical diagnostic criteria for the disease," says Bohnen. "This is a major shift in disease definition, as previously an Alzheimer's diagnosis was based mainly on a process of evaluating patients to exclude possible trauma, hemorrhage, tumor or metabolic disorder. Now it is becoming a process of inclusion based on biomarker evidence from molecular imaging."

The PET biomarker 18F-FDG comprises a radionuclide combined with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), which mimics glucose in the body. Cells metabolize FDG as fuel, and the variation in this uptake by cells throughout the body can then be imaged to detect a range of abnormalities. In the case of dementia, marked reductions in the metabolism of different lobes of the cerebral cortex can confirm a patient's disorder. Physicians can tell Alzheimer's disease apart from other dementias, depending on the specific cortices affected.

This review presents the most up-to-date and salient evidence of FDG-PET's usefulness for the evaluation of patients with suspected dementia. The objective of the study was to replace prior retrospective reviews that were performed as the technique was just emerging and that suggested methodological improvements. The new review includes studies with better methodology, including confirmation of diagnoses with autopsy, more expansive recruitment of subjects and use of
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Contact: Rebecca Maxey
rmaxey@snm.org
703-652-6772
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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