"Because both dementia care and amyloid PET technology are in active development, these new appropriate use criteria will require periodic reassessment and updating," Carrillo said.PET Amyloid Imaging in Alzheimer's – An Overview PET uses radiopharmaceuticals (radioactive drugs) to produce three-dimensional functional images of the brain or other body part. In amyloid PET imaging, the radiopharmaceutical is introduced into the body by injection into a vein and binds specifically to the amyloid protein, enabling visualization of areas in the brain where amyloid has clumped together into plaques. One of the new PET compounds was approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2012.
- If a person with dementia does not have amyloid buildup in their brain, then the cause of the dementia is very likely to be something other than Alzheimer's disease. Other causes of dementia include: strokes, thyroid problems, drug interactions, chronic alcoholism, and vitamin deficiencies.
- If an amyloid imaging PET scan shows that a person with memory impairment has amyloid buildup in their brain, this increases the likelihood that the memory impairment is caused by Alzheimer's disease, but it remains a likelihood, not a certainty.
- If a person without memory complaints or impairment has amyloid buildup, it does not necessarily mean that they will develop Alzheimer's. Many people have amyloid in their brains but are cognitively normal. More research is needed to understand the significance of amyloid plaques in this population.