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PET's imaging power may be best indicator for determining which patients develop Alzheimer's

RESTON, Va.--Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging--with the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)--is a promising tool in detecting Alzheimer's disease in patients who have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to a study reported in the October issue of the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"PET imaging with FDG represents one of the most promising tools for diagnosis of Alzheimer's," said Alexander Drzezga, M.D., who is the senior physician with the department of nuclear medicine at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. In fact, using PET imaging with FDG "may be the best indicator for determining which MCI patients are most at risk of developing Alzheimer's," added the lead author of "Prediction of Individual Clinical Outcome in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by Means of Genetic Assessment and 18F-FDG PET."

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a term used to describe a subtle but measurable deterioration of cognitive capabilities, such as memory function. Individuals with MCI are able to function reasonably well in everyday activities, such as managing finances and purchasing items at stores without assistance, but may have difficulty remembering details of conversations, events and upcoming appointments.

Patients with MCI do not yet exhibit the criteria for the diagnosis of dementia, but the disorder is seen as a precursor to Alzheimer's disease, which takes years to develop in a person, said Drzezga. Many patients with MCI develop a progressive decline in their thinking abilities over time, and Alzheimer's disease is usually the underlying cause. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia among older people; it is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder with no known cause or cure. More than 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's and its symptoms of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation and loss of language skills.

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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-708-9000
Society of Nuclear Medicine
5-Oct-2005


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