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Friday, 12 February 2010 04:12

New scanning technology may diagnosis early Alzheimer's

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U.S. medical researchers state they have developed a new neuroimaging technique called PIB-PET, which they say could detect the early onset of Alzheimer's disease in living humans.



Behavioral neurologist Gil D. Rabinovici (University of California, San Francisco) and neuroscientist William J. Jagust (University of California, Berkeley) are the two researchers involved in the research that was published in the journal Behavioral Neurology.

Rabinovici and Jagust used Pittsburgh Compound-B (PIB) Positron Emission Tomogaphy (PET), or PIB-PET, to image the accumulation of amyloid-beta (A6) protein plaque in the brain.

These plagues are thought to be key elements in the development of Alzheimer's disease in humans.

The Pittsburgh compound B (PIB) compound is a fluoresent analog of thioflavin T, which is used to image beta-amyloid plaques.

During their research, Drs. Rabinovici and Jagust imaged the brains of volunteer subjects.

The PIB compound binds to A-protein, which allows for the mapping of the brains of humans.

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The IOS Press article 'Neuroimaging May Shed Light on How Alzheimer's Disease Develops' states, 'This exciting new technique provides researchers with an opportunity to test the amyloid hypothesis as it occurs in living patients.'

The Behavioral Neurology article, which summarizes the two U.S. scientists' work, is titled 'Amyloid imaging in aging and dementia: Testing the amyloid hypothesis in vivo' (Vol. 21, Issues 1-2, 2009).

Writing within the journal article, the authors state, 'PIB-PET has provided us with our first in vivo glance at the dynamic relationship between amyloid deposition, clinical symptoms, and structural and functional changes in the brain in the continuum between normal aging and AD'¦.'

And, 'In the future, A_ imaging will likely supplement clinical evaluation in selecting patients for anti-amyloid therapies both during drug development and in the clinic.' [IOS Press]

Thus, the new PIB-PET scan shows promise in being able to find deposits of amyloid-beta protein in the brain tissue of living humans.

Deposits of amyloid-beta protein in the brain is considered a good predictor for getting Alzheimer's disease in humans.

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