Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. It is characterized by neurodegenerative changes associated with early deficits in memory that progress to other cognitive domains and functioning ability. A major impediment to the management of AD is the inability to definitively diagnose the disease until post-mortem examination. A variety of disorders can lead to or mimic dementia or can coexist with AD. Neuroimaging offers the potential to develop reliable diagnostic biomarkers for AD. Understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanisms behind AD has been enhanced through the application of neuroimaging to visualize these processes in vivo. The ability to image amyloid plaques, fundamental to the pathologic cascade leading to AD, is significant. This knowledge is helping to inform new directions for imaging approaches to aid in studying the neuropathology of the disease and identifying new therapeutic targets with the hope of finding effect treatments. This review provides an overview of AD and its clinical stages, along with issues in diagnosis, and will discuss the current role of positron emission tomography neuroimaging as a critical biomarker. In addition, an overview of current secondary prevention trials is presented.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Discuss challenges in obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease vs other causes of cognitive impairment.
- Review the diagnostic imaging tools for Alzheimer’s disease, including appropriate use of amyloid-PET.
- Evaluate role of clinical and biomarker assessment in early Alzheimer’s disease.
Categories: Nuclear Medicine, Computed Tomography