Sebastian023 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Alzheimer’s Disease Brain Scan
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, the earlier a person is diagnosed the better. Early treatment can slow the progression of this cruel disease. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease early also allows a family to make the necessary decisions on how to care for the patient before the disease progresses and the symptoms worsen.
Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease is a challenge. Other forms of dementia and some medical conditions like an underactive thyroid or vitamin B12 deficiency can mimic the early signs of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors rely mainly on tests that measure cognitive function and memory, which are not specific to Alzheimer’s.
Early Detection of Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There a Better Way?
Software, that compares a patient’s brain scan with the results of 1,200 other people with Alzheimer’s disease, was recently developed by researchers at the National Health Service in the U.K.. This software is 85% accurate for detecting the early signs of dementia due to Alzheimer’s. Earlier detection of Alzheimer’s may soon be a reality. Families can get the answers they need and this will also facilitate earlier treatment.
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is only definitively made at autopsy, and is often misdiagnosed. In fact, when a group of researchers autopsied the brains of 426 Japanese-Americans who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease while living, they found that half of them lacked enough evidence at autopsy to say they had the disease.
Other medical conditions mimic Alzheimer’s disease. Normal pressure hydrocephalus, B12 deficiency, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, tumors, depression, the effects of medications and other forms of dementia have all been diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. Some of these conditions are treatable so an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is of the utmost importance.
By US National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Early Detection of Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s Disease: The Bottom Line?
This new computer software program is currently being tested at medical centers throughout the U.K. The diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimer’s will become faster and more accurate if these tests prove to be accurate. Patients and families will finally has some great news.