Medical News Summary: PET scans have a 91% accuracy for Alzheimer’s diagnosis


About: PET scans have a 91% accuracy for Alzheimer’s diagnosis
Date: 26 January 2005
Source: South Bend Tribune
Author: Shari Roan
Medical News Summary (summary of medical news story as reported by South Bend Tribune): 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.
Related Disease Topics: Alzheimer’s disease, Depression
Related Symptom Topics: Memory problems, mood problems

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