A new study, published on 23 November in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia journal, has shown that using amyloid-PET brain scans during diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may help improve long-term health outcomes for patients, with delayed institutionalisation, lower mortality and reduced care costs.
The build-up of amyloid proteins in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, causing symptoms such as memory impairment. Over the last few decades, new diagnostic tests have been developed to measure amyloid proteins in the brain, using brain scan technologies that use targeted tracers to precisely detect and quantify these proteins. Studies have shown that PET scans to detect amyloid (termed “amyloid-PET”) can help increase the confidence of clinicians when diagnosing AD. In their new publication, a team of researchers led by Professor Wiesje van der Vlier of Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) asked whether amyloid-PET scans could also improve long-term health outcomes for patients receiving an AD diagnosis.
To answer this question, the researchers studied the health outcomes for two, statistically-matched groups of patients from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort; one group of 449 people who accepted to undergo amyloid-PET scans (as part of the ABIDE-PET project), and one group of 571 people who did not undergo amyloid PET scans. Analyses of data collected over a four-year period after diagnosis revealed a 52% lower risk of institutionalisation and similarly reduced mortality rate for patients who accepted amyloid-PET scans. They also found evidence for reduced healthcare costs in the years after diagnosis, suggesting that a more precise diagnosis using amyloid-PET and similar tests may have direct benefits for patients as well as their clinicians.
Read the article, here: https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.12846