CAN A NEW AMYLOID PET SCAN DIAGNOSE ALZHEIMER’S ACCURATELY?
It can, with high sensitivity but not high specificity. The reason for the low specificity is that at least 25% of cognitively normal older adults and almost 50% of people older than 80 show beta-amyloid on PET scans. All of them do not progress to symptomatic Alzheimer’s. The scan, however, is very helpful to distinguish Alzheimer’s from other causes of dementia. It is commercially available but is not reimbursed by Medicare.
Jack Florin, MD
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