An international team of researchers has discovered a new method of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease by detecting tau proteins with a PET scan. The study involved 700 patients from memory clinics in Lund-Malmö in southern Sweden, San Francisco and Seoul. Tau and beta-amyloid are two proteins known to be associated with Alzheimer’s. Beta-amyloid causes plaque formation in the early stages of the disease, while tau begins to spread at a later stage, forming tangles in the brain cells. “It is when tau begins to spread that the neurons start dying and the patient experiences the first problems with the disease. If we scan a patient with memory difficulties and he or she proves to have a lot of tau in the brain, we know with a high degree of certainty that it is a case of Alzheimer’s,” according to senior researcher Rik Ossenkoppele. By injecting a radioactive tau marker, researchers were able to use PET scan images to identify the presence of tau proteins and diagnose 90 to 95 percent of Alzheimer’s cases. These results are more accurate than the routinely used MRI and beta-amyloid PET methods.
SOURCE: Lund University, September 19, 2018
DATE Retrieved: September 26, 2018