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Diagnosing Alzheimers Through Brain Scans

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - There are numerous causes of dementia including mini strokes and other forms of vascular disease. Of course the most widely known and discussed is Alzheimers and, although we do not necessarily know one specific cause of Alzheimers, we do know that people with Alzheimers often have certain types of plaques found in their brain during autopsy.

The problem with this is that we often don’t get the facts until autopsy.

Researchers from Penn are looking at the idea of being able to make this diagnosis earlier — while the patient is alive. Naturally this would help with treatment.

The simplest way to describe what is being studied is that they are looking at introducing a radioactive chemical that binds to plaques in the brain followed up by brain scans. At this point the research is not leading to revolutionary results that will make this a new tool in diagnosis but it is being worked on and a worthwhile step.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor