While many oncologists and their patients know that PET (positron emission tomography) scans can offer keen insight into cancer development while guiding more effective treatment, a fairly new approved medication is paving the way for more effective PET scanning in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive conditions. Amyvid is an injectable medication that when used in conjunction with PET scans can enable clinicians to see the formation of amyloid plague on the brain.
Amyvid is a radioactive tracer that is able to tag amyloid proteins, which are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Courtesy of this tracer, physicians can now see inside the brain through the use of PET scanning to detect this disease and other cognitive disorders earlier than ever before. This breakthrough is enabling faster, more precise diagnosis while also enabling doctors to potentially rule out the presence of Alzheimer’s in some cases of cognitive decline. What makes this breakthrough so important is the fact that the presence of amyloid plaque was once only detectable through post-mortem autopsies. Now doctors can “see” inside the brain while the symptoms are ongoing to help them better diagnose and treat patients with cognitive decline.
Amyvid is helping doctors and patients in two main ways:
- Negative scans – When scans come back negative for the formation of amyloid plaque, it is generally doubtful that Alzheimer’s is the cause of cognitive decline. That means doctors can begin looking at other possible causes, which may in fact have viable treatment options.
- Positive scans – While Alzheimer’s isn’t always to blame for the formation of plaque, it often is. Positive scans enable doctors to more readily consider this diagnosis treatment while also potentially enabling the use of early intervention treatments.
Cognitive decline can have many root causes, Alzheimer’s among them. By being able to “see” inside through the use of PET scans and Amyvid, diagnosis can often be arrived at earlier, opening the door for more effective early treatment.