Scientists are exploring the use of PET scans to determine whether individuals have Alzheimer’s disease which can currently only now be confirmed after a patient’s death, Yahoo!/HealthDay News reports. The number of Americans with the disease is mounting, with a new report released this week estimating the number to be over 5 million.
The PET scans that can find the disease use a compound, called AV-1, to help locate the large amounts of beta-amyloid proteins in the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
The hope is that physicians will be able to more effectively diagnose the disease and also more efficiently make use of medications.
Experts warn that wide use of this technology to diagnose the disease is still a ways off, and this is because such compounds need to be more precise and predictable. Also, researchers are working on ways to determine which individuals are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s rather than treating the disease after it has already appeared, Yahoo!/HealthDay News reports.