Expert system developed to enhance diagnostic accuracy of Alzheimer's disease with FDG PET scans

reliable diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is of paramount importance, especially with determining treatment options," said the co-author of "Use of an Expert System for the Diagnosis of Suspected Alzheimer's Disease (AD) With FDG PET."

PET uses noninvasive special imaging systems and radioactive tracers to produce pictures of the function and metabolism of the cells in the body. A radiopharmaceutical, such as FDG, which includes both sugar (glucose) and a radionuclide (a radioactive element) that gives off signals, is injected into the patient; its emissions are measured by a PET scanner.

"Our system, which was tested in 150 cases, did as well as experts in identifying Alzheimer's patients, even in the very early stages, and will help enhance the diagnostic accuracy of FDG PET," said Bartenstein. "This automated, observer-independent analytical approach for therapeutic applications will be an important tool for quality assurance in molecular/nuclear imaging," he added.

"The knowledge of several experts in the field was utilized in the development of the computer program by defining several rules used by these experts for diagnosing and excluding Alzheimer's," explained Bartenstein. Based on this knowledge, the program identifies abnormalities in the PET images and detects Alzheimer's typical changes, he said. "Besides determining the probability that a patient has Alzheimer's, it is able to identify various other dementia disorders (like frontal lobe dementia or Lewy body disease) that also show typical, but different abnormalities in the FDG-PET image," he added. This prototype research tool is not yet designed for commercial application.

Authors of "Use of an Expert System for the Diagnosis of Suspected Alzheimer's Disease (AD) With FDG PET" are Thomas Siessmeier, department of nuclear medicine, University Mainz, Mainz, Germany; Sebastian Oehm, CeBiTec/BRF, University Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany; Hans-Georg Buchholz, depart

Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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