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Medical News and Perspectives |

PET Imaging for Alzheimer Disease: Are Its Benefits Worth the Cost?

Mike Mitka, MSJ
JAMA. 2013;309(11):1099-1100. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2101.
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With positron emission tomography (PET), radiologists can now detect human brain β-amyloid plaques, one of the pathological features of Alzheimer disease. Some advocates of PET imaging believe this technology will mean earlier diagnosis and treatment for patients with Alzheimer disease, leading to improvements in quality of life and perhaps even outcomes. But skeptics argue that so far, no rigorous studies show that PET imaging, at a cost of more than $3000 per visit, provides any benefit in patient care and outcomes.

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Positron emission tomography imaging of human brain β-amyloid plaques may be useful for diagnosing and developing treatment strategies for Alzheimer disease.

(Photo credit: JAMA. 2011;305(3):275-283.)

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