The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans | Daniel Amen | TEDxOrangeCoast
- Alzheimer’s Disease can be caught in the early stages—when the best treatments are available—by watching for telltale warning signs. If you recognize the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, make an appointment to see your physician right away. Brain imaging technology can diagnose Alzheimer’s early, improving the opportunities for symptom management.
- Fortunately, the diagnostic capability of brain scans is improving. Especially promising is a kind of PET scan that uses a chemical tracer that binds specifically to amyloid deposits in the brain, allowing them to show up clearly on the brain scans. Today, at least 17 centers in North America, as well as 21 others throughout the world, have successfully used one such tracer, Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB PET), in thousands of subjects. So far, this technique is being used only in research studies. Experts anticipate PET scans with similar tracer compounds will be in general use within the next several years. These tests may help doctors diagnose the disease before symptoms appear, as well as assess new treatments.
- Researchers also hope to perfect MRI techniques that can enhance physicians’ ability to measure brain atrophy and diagnose Alzheimer’s with greater accuracy. Functional MRI (fMRI), which records blood flow changes linked to brain activity, may prove helpful in distinguishing among different forms of dementia.