Read about this in the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304587704577332090297872490.html?mod=rss_Health
Alzheimer Diagnosis Possible With Scan
A much-anticipated test developed by Eli Lilly & Co. that detects the presence of proteins in the brain that are related to Alzheimer’s disease was approved Friday by the Food and Drug Administration. The test uses a chemical called florbetapir, known by the brand name Amyvid, which is a radioactive agent that tags clumps of a sticky substance called an amyloid. The chemical, which costs $1,600 per dose, then is detected using a brain imaging technique called positron emission tomography, known as PET scans.
For patients who already have some symptoms of cognitive decline, a positive scan suggests that moderate to frequent amyloid plaques are present in the brain, which is consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. If the scan is negative, indicating no clumps or few clumps of amyloid, “that gives the clinician a clue that Alzheimer’s is less likely to be the cause of those symptoms,” said Daniel Skovronsky, who developed the agent and is the global brand-development leader for Amyvid at Lilly.
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