Brain amyloid Positron Emission Testing (PET) represents a major step forward in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with cognitive impairment where the cause is unclear. For some time, brain amyloid plaques could only be detected during an autopsy. However, amyloid PET imaging allows clinicians to visualize and accurately detect plaque in a living person. Information from this scan could help exclude underlying Alzheimer’s disease and may help guide patient management.

This specialized form of PET scan is for adults who are experiencing unexplained memory loss or problems with thinking. This diagnostic scan can give your physician important information about what could be causing memory or thinking problems and your doctor will use your results along with other tests and observations to help make a diagnosis. Studies have even shown that using amyloid PET scan in conjunction with observable symptoms shifts a patient’s treatment plan up to 67% of the time versus observing signs and Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) or Folstein tests alone.

One of the major benefits of a beta-amyloid PET scan is that it helps to detect amyloid deposition in the brain years before the onset of clinical symptoms, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment options. A positive PET scan reveals the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that are a key indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. A negative PET scan is not consistent with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but would still allow your doctor to explore other possible causes of memory or thinking problems.

Currently, a brain amyloid PET scan is only covered by Medicare through participation in a newly enrolling collaborative study. Here at Future Diagnostics Group, we are proud to be a registered imaging facility with this new and upcoming study. Medicare patients meeting clinical criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Dementia may be eligible for a brain amyloid PET scan through participation in the study, but self-pay options are also available for those who may not meet certain criteria. Board-certified neurologists, psychiatrists and geriatric medicine physicians interested in enrolling eligible patients in the study are encouraged to contact us for additional information using this link.

Additional information regarding the upcoming study will be made available as soon as supplemental details have been released, but for further questions regarding this exam please contact us here.

For more information regarding the benefits of this exam, please see this article written by the American College of Radiology.