PET scanning is used to differentiate between the different causes of dementia. One of which is Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that destroys brain cells. The destruction of cells causes a decline in mental functions that affect memory, thinking, language and behavior. Early symptoms may include difficulty in performing everyday tasks or remembering common words. Confusion and difficulty with reasoning are other frequent symptoms. As the disease progresses, victims of Alzheimer’s disease become increasingly disoriented, anxious and agitated, until they can no longer perform the most basic tasks in their own care. While the disease can occur in people in their 40s and 50s, it most commonly affects those aged 65 and older.
PET and Alzheimer’s
A PET scan can show the brain’s biological changes attributable to Alzheimer’s disease before any other diagnostic test. Alzheimer’s disease can even be detected several years earlier than the onset of symptoms. Early detection and confirmation of Alzheimer’s disease allows for:
- Early drug therapy to slow the loss of the patient’s ability to function.
- Future planning before loss of mental capacity.
- Positive and accurate diagnosis of other dementia related processes, chronic depression and normal aging.
- Help in the discovery and development of new therapies.
- Ask your doctor if this test is right for you or your loved one.
Helpful information may be found at www.petscan.org/