Scientists recently discovered that a combination of positron emission tomography (PET) with a certain biomarker can pinpoint key areas of decline in the brain that indicate dementia, according to a study published in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
The study was a review of previous imaging research spanning more than 10 years. It sought to evaluate certain methods that would offer physiological evidence of neurodegenerative disease.
Although doctors currently use a number of diagnostic methods to determine whether a patient has dementia, this PET scan combination is an "effective addition to other diagnostic methods," according to Dr. Nicolaas Bohnen, the lead author of the study.
"This is a major shift in disease definition, as previously an Alzheimer’s diagnosis was based mainly on a process of evaluating patients to exclude possible trauma, hemorrhage, tumor or metabolic disorder," he said. "Now it is becoming a process of inclusion based on biomarker evidence from molecular imaging."
The studies may help physicians make more accurate diagnoses earlier than ever before, allowing patients to get the dementia care that they require.