Visual rating of dementia PET scans stumps some readers

March 2, 2015

Amyloid imaging can tell Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) apart because FTD typically does not show the same pattern of amyloid, right? Not so fast, say brain researchers.

Amyvid, a F-18 florbetapir injection, was first FDA approved in April, 2012, and made a big splash in amyloid imaging as a diagnostic aid for AD. It is well understood by now that the agent does not diagnose AD, but the absence of amyloid deposition is a green light for ruling out the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not the only form of dementia being investigated with brain PET. It just so happens that FTD can also present patterns of amyloid deposition—although significantly less so. Researchers hoped that F-18 florbetapir would be helpful for discerning one dementia from the next, but it turns out that it is a little more complicated than that.

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