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First guidelines for brain amyloid imaging in Alzheimer's released
Date:1/27/2013

al functional images of the brain or other body part. In amyloid PET imaging, the radiopharmaceutical is introduced into the body by injection into a vein and binds specifically to the amyloid protein, enabling visualization of areas in the brain where amyloid has clumped together into plaques. One of the new PET compounds was approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2012.

  • If a person with dementia does not have amyloid buildup in their brain, then the cause of the dementia is very likely to be something other than Alzheimer's disease. Other causes of dementia include: strokes, thyroid problems, drug interactions, chronic alcoholism, and vitamin deficiencies.
  • If an amyloid imaging PET scan shows that a person with memory impairment has amyloid buildup in their brain, this increases the likelihood that the memory impairment is caused by Alzheimer's disease, but it remains a likelihood, not a certainty.
  • If a person without memory complaints or impairment has amyloid buildup, it does not necessarily mean that they will develop Alzheimer's. Many people have amyloid in their brains but are cognitively normal. More research is needed to understand the significance of amyloid plaques in this population.

Amyloid imaging is not covered by insurance at this time, and costs for the scan are "out of pocket." While costs of amyloid PET are not yet established, and PET costs in general can vary depending upon location, other PET scans are known to cost between $1,000 and $3,000, or more. Nonetheless, the AIT concluded that the proven sensitivity and specificity of the new radiopharmaceuticals for brain amyloid and the known association between brain beta amyloid deposition and Alzheimer's suggest these new radiopharmaceuticals could potentially be helpful in the workup and diagnosis of patients with cognitive impairment.


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Contact: Susan Martonik
smartonik@snmmi.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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