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PET detects dementia

PET detects dementia
9th January 2012

A study has confirmed that positron emission tomography (PET) safely and accurately detects dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

Following more than ten years' worth of molecular imaging investigation, researchers at the University of Michigan have found that PET, which provides functional images of biological processes, combined with an injected biomarker called 18F-FDG to pinpoint key areas of metabolic decline in the brain indicating dementia.

The discovery will allow clinicians to make more accurate diagnosis at an early juncture.

Lead author of the study professor Nicolaas Bohnen commented: "The new data support the role of 18F-FDG PET as an effective addition to other diagnostic methods used to assess patients with symptoms of dementia."

Moreover, the confirmation of PET as an effective way to diagnose dementia is also important for clinicians, according to Dr Bohnen, as it gives them the confidence to diagnose a patient, especially one who fits the symptoms of dementia but who is not considered to be at high-risk of the condition.

PET is also used to detect brain tumours; however there is some debate over the advantages of the method.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.