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Mount Sinai is first in New York state to perform new Alzheimer's imaging test in clinical setting
Date:6/19/2012

The Mount Sinai Medical Center is the first institution in New York State to use in the clinical setting a newly approved imaging technique to detect Alzheimer's disease (AD) in people who are cognitively impaired. Until now, physicians have been limited in their ability to diagnose AD, guided almost exclusively by a patient's mental and behavioral symptoms and family history. The innovative techniquerecently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is not only expected to play a critical role in the diagnosis of AD, but in drug research, and the design of clinical trials leading to a cure.

Under the new procedure, patients are injected with a radioactive agent called florbetapir, which binds to the plaques that are hallmark symptoms of AD. The physician then uses a positron emission tomography (PET) scan to highlight the plaques that are binded to the agent. If a large amount of florbetapir is visualized on the image, the patient may have AD. If no plaques are found, this could eliminate AD as a possible cause of the patient's cognitive impairment.

"Until now, a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease could only be pathologically confirmed at autopsy," said Samuel Gandy, MD, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry and Director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health and NFL Neurological Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Coupled with traditional clinical examination, florbetapir is a promising tool in helping confirm the diagnosis of a patient who is dealing with cognitive impairment. While we cannot exclude the presence of very low levels of amyloid, a negative test means that a memory problem is likely due to some other cause."

Alzheimer's disease is one of several possible causes of cognitive decline. Symptoms may overlap with other causes of cognitive impairment including memory loss; loss in visuospatial ability and executive function; and behavioral and language difficulties. The imaging technique will be
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Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
newsmedia@mssm.edu
212-241-9200
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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