Jun 24, 2010

Can Alzheimer's Be Diagnosed?

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Can Alzheimer's Be Diagnosed?
What is Alzheimer's Disease
Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, based in Philadelphia, has developed a new scan and radioactive dye that could allow doctors to diagnose Alzheimer's disease accurately. This new technology will be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD), July 11, 2010.

Why is this important?

Even at the best medical centers, doctors often are wrong. Twenty percent of people with dementia — a loss of memory and intellectual functions — who received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, did not have it. There was no plaque when their brains were biopsied. Half with milder memory loss, thought to be on their way to Alzheimer’s, do not get the disease. And with such a high rate of misdiagnosis, some who are mistakenly told that they have Alzheimer’s are not treated for conditions, like depression or low levels of thyroid hormone or drug side effects and interactions, that are causing their memory problems.

As many of you know, this is one of my "pet peeves" -- Is it Really Alzheimer's or Something Else?

Is is not unusual for doctors to diagnose Alzheimer's without doing a battery of tests to rule out other causes. It is easier and cheaper to write the prescription. This was the case with my mother. Of course, she's old, so what is the big deal -- right?

Eventually, at my insistence my mother had several MRIs over the years. However, all we really know is that she is suffering from "probable" Alzheimer's disease.

I wonder what it is going to feel like, once her brain gets autopsied, if it is NOT Alzheimer's. Probably not that big a deal for us either way. I doubt I would be saying that if she was 64 or 74 instead of 94.

Go here for a good read and more information -- Promise Seen for Detection of Alzheimer’s.

Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 2,390 articles with more than 252,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room