PET Scan Can Spot Alzheimer's 15 Years Before Symptoms Appear

Posted: May 12 2016, 4:58am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

PET Scan Can Spot Alzheimer's 15 Years Before Symptoms Appear
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  • Advance Detection of Alzheimer’s can Procrastinate Onset of Symptoms

The advance detection of a disease such as Alzheimer’s via positive emission tomography (PET) scan can procrastinate onset of symptoms.

It usually happens that by the time Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed, it is too late for palliative measures. The malady has advanced to the point of no return. Yet now scientists have been able to come up with a brain scan that can spot the disease a decade and a half in advance.

Thus better therapies can be found for the disease. The brain scans can allow the proteins that stick together in the brain to be viewed thereby allowing a picture of how memory loss actually occurs.

The proteins responsible for Alzheimer’s are the tau and amyloid proteins. These form cobwebs long before the symptoms appear. Now the scientists at the University College London (UCL) have employed PET scans to find out more about the tangled bunches of these proteins in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

These scans use radioactive materials to detect the clumps and measure their sizes as well. Thus the physicians are forewarned and forearmed regarding the disease. One of the personnel of the UCL team said that the whole project was an exciting one.

It is indeed a novel portal into the wonders of the human brain and its malfunctions. Via PET scans, Alzheimer’s could be detected years before its onset.

In fact, within the next 15 years or so, a suitable treatment will have been found for Alzheimer’s thanks to this scheme of things. While tau and amyloid protein clumps are forming in the brain over a period of a decade and a half, we cannot see these changes taking place on the surface.

It all goes on inside that black box which is the brain. By the time the patient develops full-fledged Alzheimer’s, it is too late.

By detecting this gradual accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins in the brain, the advanced prophylaxis of the disease may begin at the hands of the medical doctors.

Maybe at some time in the future decades, Alzheimer’s will have gone the way of so many other illnesses. Therapies would have been found to forestall the rapid onset of the disease.

Already new drug trials have begun and these medicines which are at the forefront of the world of healing arts may just put an end to the scourge of Alzheimer’s once and for all. It will take time but it is sure to take place with the passage of the years.

This new study is published on May 11 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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