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News » PET scans have a 91% accuracy for Alzheimer’s diagnosis

PET scans have a 91% accuracy for Alzheimer’s diagnosis

A man developed progressive symptoms of memory and mood problems from the age of 45. Doctors diagnosed him with depression. His wife persistently asked for a positron emission tomography test and when doctors recommended electric shock treatment for his depression, she refused until he had the PET test. The test determined that he had Alzheimer’s disease. PET scans are only recently becoming more popular with it’s greatest handicap being it’s expense. PET scans allow earlier diagnosis and may be useful even in people who present with now symptoms but are at high risk of the disease. Earlier diagnosis allows optimal treatment. The cause of Alzheimer’s is unknown but believed to be genetically determined. Diagnosis without the PET scan usually involves physical examinations, lab tests and psychological and cognitive tests which can be inaccurate and may take years. Experts from the Alzheimer’s Disease Center claim that traditional tests have an accuracy of 60-70% compared to 91% for the scans. Health insurers are increasingly providing cover for the scan. The scan may also be a useful tool in determining the effectiveness of treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by South Bend Tribune

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About: PET scans have a 91% accuracy for Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Date: 26 January 2005

Source: South Bend Tribune

Author: Shari Roan


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