For the first time, UCLA researchers have calculated how early diagnosis of Alzheimer's using positron emission tomography (PET) improves the treatment results of dementia patients. When used in conjunction with conventional diagnostic methods, PET can cut unnecessary drug therapy by half and reduce months in a nursing home by 60 percent. The latest issue of the journal of Molecular Imaging and Biology reports the study findings.
"With the introduction of promising new drugs to treat the mildest stages of Alzheimer's disease, diagnosing patients early is more important than ever before," said Dr. Dan Silverman, principal investigator, UCLA assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology and associate director of imaging for the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center.
"PET boosts the number of Alzheimer's cases that are detected early and can substantially reduce the number of elderly patients falsely diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease," he said.
Silverman and his colleagues modeled the value of two diagnostic strategies for evaluating whether Alzheimer's disease was responsible for early signs of dementia in elderly patients.
The first approach followed the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2001 recommendations for clinical evaluation of dementia.
The second approach followed the AAN recommendations, but also incorporated PET to measure the patient's brain metabolic pattern for evidence of early Alzheimer-type damage.
Patients in both groups were then treated according to the AAN 2001 recommendations for management of dementia.
Silverman and his associates studied both strategies for their range of accuracy in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. The differences proved dramatic.
"Although both approaches accurately diagnosed most Alzheimer's patients, we found that the appropriate use of PET could reduce erroneous diagnoses by half," Silverman said.
The UCLA team examined the best current medicPage: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Elaine Schmidt
University of California - Los Angeles
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