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New test detects amyloid plaques in people with MCI

Monday 09 April 2012

On 9 April, the American FDA approved a new protein detection test developed by Eli Lilly. It is an imaging test performed on living people using a chemical called florbetapir. This radioactive agent settles on clumps of beta amyloid and can then be detected with PET scans.

The imaging test - known as Amyvid - aims to detect Alzheimer's disease earlier and more accurately in people with slight memory loss. For people who already have some symptoms of cognitive decline, a positive scan suggests that moderate to frequent amyloid plaques are present in the brai. If the scan is negative, indicating no or few clumps of amyloid, "that gives the clinician a clue that Alzheimer's is less likely to be the cause of those symptoms," said Eli Lilly's Daniel Skovronsky.