Alzheimer’s disease is a very serious condition and one of the most common types of dementia in older people. It is characterized by a progressive deterioration or fluctuation of memory. It is a terminal disease which means that this disease can only grow worse as time progresses.
Although Alzheimer’s was discovered quite a long time ago, there is still no definite cure for this condition.
Researchers have long been trying to come up with a distinct diagnostic tool which can specifically help diagnose Alzheimer’s even in its very early stages. So far, researchers have discovered that there are certain amyloid plaques or protein fragments that are embedded in between nerves in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. In the past, the only way to be able to see these plaques was through autopsies.
However, with the help of the advancement of technology, researchers have now come up with a diagnostic test or a way of safely scanning the brain for the presence of these amyloid plaques. This brain scan is a very important milestone in terms of studying the progression of this condition. It basically works by injecting the Amyvid, which is a chemical tracer, into the brain. This chemical usually binds with any amyloid plaques present in the brain. Once these tracers light up during the scan, early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is a possibility.
Usually, a person suspected of having the disease is subjected to several blood tests or MRI/CAT scans that can support the diagnosis. With this new brain scan, however, this test may be all that is required to quickly diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
The FDA has already approved the use of this brain scan as a diagnostic tool for this disease. Hopefully with the help of this scan, proper care can be provided even at the earliest stages of the disease process.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that can easily make or break an unprepared family, if these people can be diagnosed earlier they can prepare for the progression of the disease earlier as well.