Alzheimer's Society comment on Amyloid brain scans changing dementia diagnosis and management

This article was sent to me via the Alzheimer's Society.I had never seen it before but hopefully it helps others like me to understand more about these scans

Alzheimer's Society comment on Amyloid brain scans

Alzheimer's Society comment on Amyloid brain scans changing dementia diagnosis and management
Published 22 July 2015

The use of Amyloid PET scans may change the way that doctors manage and diagnose their patients with dementia, according to research presented at the Alzheimer's Association Conference today (Wednesday 22 July).

The scan can show whether someone with memory problems has deposits of amyloid in their brain, the classic hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

The study focused on doctors in France, Italy and the US who were treating 618 patients who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, where Alzheimer's was being considered as a possible cause. All patients were given a diagnosis and management plan by their doctors before undergoing an amyloid PET scan. For half the patients, their doctors received their scan results immediately and for the other half the doctors did not receive this information for a year.

Preliminary results demonstrate that doctors who received their patient's scan results immediately were significantly more likely to alter the patient's diagnosis and management plan, including the prescription of Alzheimer's medication, than the doctors who were not given access to the scan results for a year.

Dr Clare Walton, Alzheimer's Society's Research Manager, said:
'Brain scans can sometimes be used to help with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, but neither standard MRI nor these new amyloid PET scans can tell for sure whether a person's memory problems are caused by the condition.

These amyloid scans may give us more information about the cause of a person's symptoms, but they will still need to be used as part of a battery of diagnostic tests.

'We need to be sure that any diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's disease or otherforms of dementia will benefit the person affected. These results do indicate that extra information provided by the scan can influence the way someone withmemory problems is treated by their doctor, but there currently isn't enough evidence to show that the scan will improve their medical experience or quality of life.

'It is essential that people with dementia are given the appropriate support, information and treatments for their condition.
Any diagnostic process that will bring better management of dementia is to be welcomed. However, we need to wait for the results of further tests of this scan to see whether it can bring that benefit.'


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