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The role of PET in Alzheimer's diagnosis and monitoring

Many of us have experienced the profound impact of Alzheimer's disease within our own families, witnessing the gradual erosion of cherished memories and the vibrant personalities we hold dear. The journey of seeing a loved one grapple with the challenges of Alzheimer's is marked by moments of heartache, as familiar faces become strangers and shared stories slip away like grains of sand through time. In these moments, we keenly feel the emotional toll on both the individual affected and the family members who become steadfast caregivers, navigating the complexities of providing support amidst the gradual fading of recognition.

 

Diagnosing Alzheimer's disease in America involves a comprehensive assessment that includes medical history, cognitive tests, and often neuroimaging studies. Primary care physicians, neurologists, or geriatric specialists are typically involved in the diagnostic process. While there is no single definitive test for Alzheimer's, advancements in biomarker research have led to the incorporation of cerebrospinal fluid analysis and positron emission tomography (PET) scans to detect characteristic protein abnormalities in the brain.

 

PET scans can detect the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which are hallmark indicators of Alzheimer's pathology. The PET imaging agents, such as florbetapir or flortaucipir, bind to these abnormal proteins, allowing for their visualization in the brain. The amyloid deposition in the brain can be detected years before the onset of clinical symptoms, too. Another key advantage of PET scans in Alzheimer's diagnosis is their ability to provide in vivo evidence of pathological changes, aiding in the differentiation of Alzheimer's from other forms of dementia.

 

PraanaTech spoke with two neurologists in California’s Bay Area who confirmed that early and accurate diagnosis remains a challenge in the United States, with misdiagnoses and underdiagnoses occurring. They also backed our solution that addresses this very problem. Dr. Parminder Bhatia from Neuro-Pain Medical Center of California said "I can be referring 3X more patients to PET scans if they were more accessible" Dr. Braj Agarwal from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said "Healthcare networks should find your (PraanaTech’s) solution widely deployable".

 

Accessibility and cost of PET scans are two barriers to widespread use, and there is a dire necessity to refine and develop more cost-effective imaging techniques. Timely and precise diagnosis is crucial for early intervention and management, enhancing the quality of life for those affected and their families.

 

In the end, it's a shared experience that transcends statistics and scientific facts, binding us together in the collective hope for advances in research and care that can offer solace and relief to those impacted by this relentless disease.

 

 




This article was written using references from the following pages:

1.     Alzheimer’s Association Forum: https://www.alzforum.org/conference-calendar/2864291

2.     National Library of medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4332800/

 

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