A positive Amyloid PET scan can be used to identify subtle cognitive problems in adults asymptomatic for Alzheimer’s disease. In a large, complex study, the scan showed an increased amyloid burden in the patients.
Scientists were contemplating whether they can use PET to detect any abnormality in the levels of amyloid-beta protein in the brains of asymptomatic older adults. This will help to treat them with an anti-amyloid antibody that targets the protein to slow or stop the development of cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Although research is still ongoing, researchers have released the first results of the anti-amyloid treatment.
The findings suggest that people with no signs of cognitive impairment at the baseline tested positive for Abeta on the PET scan after numerous neurocognitive assessments. They underwent blood tests to check for the AD risk gene known as APOE4.
It was found that amyloid positive patients did not perform well on neurocognitive tests compared to people who didn’t have Abeta accumulated in their brains. Furthermore, those who felt their cognitive abilities slipping off were found more likely to have high Abeta levels, like those with one APOE4 allele.
This proves that it’s possible to identify patients with Alzheimer’s who have high beta-amyloid in their brain during the preclinical stages of their disease.
People who tested amyloid positive did not perform well on various cognitive measures and were likely to change how they function in their lives. The cognitive and functional testing assessments were performed a month before they too a PET scan.
The research team was able to see the significant difference in people with positive amyloid scans and those who came out with negative exams. This goes to suggest that amyloid is associated with low performance and subtle changes in the cognitive function before having a clinically diagnosable cognitive impairment.
The participants of the trial had no evidence of the symptoms of the disease, but most of them had close family members with Alzheimer’s disease and were concerned about their risks.