Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease and the role of amyloid plaques

May 22, 2018 - 3:45 am

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Alzheimer's disease affects more than five million people in the United States, and many believe that detecting Alzheimer’s disease early could help delay symptoms somewhat. 

Studies on elderly individuals comparing those with either normal cognitive function, mild cognitive impairment, or mild dementia, where pet scans with a mild tracer were used, have repeatedly shown that those with dementia often have beta-amyloid plaques. The plaques are a linked to Alzheimer’s disease but can also be seen in normal aging as well. 

This is where cognitive testing is used. 

Studies have shown that those with “positive” scans for significant amounts of amyloid plaque were more likely to perform worse on cognitive tests at baseline and more likely to progress with symptoms.