We see indicators of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias years before clinical symptoms show up
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 5.3 million people of all ages in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease and another 1 million with other types of dementia. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be 23 million people worldwide with some form of dementia. Women are twice as likely as men to get Alzheimer’s.
At CereScan, we strictly adhere to the 2014 American College of Radiology Practice Guidelines for SPECT brain imaging. Part II of these guidelines contain the indications when SPECT brain imaging should be used and the first indication is for, “Evaluating patients with suspected dementia.” The common belief is that Alzheimer’s can only truly be diagnosed in an autopsy. That is no longer true. Both SPECT and PET/CT imaging, when done properly and with advanced processing software, allow CereScan’s reading specialists to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from other forms of dementia, antemortem.
Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is unfortunately all too common. In one study, Dr. Lon White (professor of geriatric medicine at Univ. of Hawaii) conducted autopsies on 400 Japanese men previously diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Only half of these brains showed the familiar beta amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. The other half had other forms of dementia such as Lewy Bodies, stroke related dementia, brain injury related dementia, or various co-morbid combinations of these. A second study with another 400 subjects showed very similar results.
“Diagnosing specific dementias . . . is complex, but with the large increase in dementia cases expected within the next 10 years in the United States, it will be increasingly important to correctly recognize, diagnose, prevent and treat age-related cognitive decline,” said study author Dr. Lon White in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.
Recent scientific studies clearly show that neuroimaging of the type performed at CereScan can improve a doctor’s clinical accuracy in properly diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease from the 70% – 80% range into the 90%+ accuracy range. CereScan’s functional brain imaging provides valuable information for differentiating between these various dementias. If your patients show clinical symptoms and/or have a family history of dementia, a quantitative brain scan can show patterns of perfusion levels in the brain that will indicate the type of dementia, or if it is dementia at all. Our PET/CT imaging will provide an evaluation of dementia; SPECT imaging will also evaluate dementia and in addition will provide a more comprehensive assessment of your patient’s brain condition.
Becoming more forgetful as age increases is usually normal and may not be an indication of any brain disorder. However, if certain risk factors exist, you may want to investigate further. These risk factors include:
- Family history of dementia
- Previous head injuries
- Poor cardiovascular health
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Obesity in middle age
There are many causes of cognitive decline other than dementia. For example, a brain infection may lead to symptoms that look like dementia, and brain infections are usually treatable. Thyroid problems and certain vitamin deficiencies can also masquerade as cognitive decline even in the absence of dementia. CereScan’s neuroimaging capabilities can give you a clear assessment of what is really going on in a person’s brain.
The sequelae of a traumatic brain injury include memory loss, cognitive decline, foggy thinking, verbal difficulties, and concentration problems. It is difficult to arrive at a confident diagnosis when clinical symptoms overlap. A clear picture of brain functioning via CereScan’s advanced imaging can provide the evidence you need to make an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Outcomes will be better and your patients will most certainly be happier.
If you have questions, we have answers. Call today to learn more about our diagnostic brain imaging. Call toll-free at 866-722-4806.
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