PET Scan and Alzheimer’s in San Antonio, TX
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that destroys brain cells. The destruction of cells causes a decline in mental functions that affect memory, thinking, language and behavior. Early symptoms may include difficulty in performing everyday tasks or remembering common words. Confusion and difficulty with reasoning are other frequent symptoms. As the disease progresses, victims of Alzheimer’s disease become increasingly disoriented, anxious and agitated, until they can no longer perform the most basic tasks in their own care. While the disease can occur in people in their 40s and 50s, it most commonly affects those aged 65 and older.
PET and Alzheimer’s
A PET scan can show the brain’s biological changes attributable to Alzheimer’s disease before any other diagnostic test. Alzheimer’s disease can even be detected several years earlier than the onset of symptoms. Early detection and confirmation of Alzheimer’s disease allows for:
- Early drug therapy to slow the loss of the patient’s ability to function.
- Future planning before loss of mental capacity.
- Positive and accurate diagnosis of other dementing processes, chronic depression and normal aging.
- Help in the discovery and development of new therapies.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but a number of new drug treatments are being developed. Recently, the FDA approved a drug for Alzheimer’s disease that affects the chemical systems of the brain. If this drug is administered early in the course of memory loss, it delays progression of symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Additional drug studies are underway, which hopefully will bring about more substantial improvements in the course of the disease.
PET is a test that may diagnose Alzheimer’s early enough to make full use of drug therapies, reassure fearful patients who might not have the disease, or redirect treatment for other conditions.