• News App
  • To:
  • My Turn

    June 01, 2013

    Amyloid Imaging Offers Opportunities, Requires Caution

    Amyloid beta is the most widely recognized marker of Alzheimer Disease (AD), and many even believe it is a causal factor. Amyloid plaques are associated with neuronal damage that can eventually lead to profound dementia in a subset of patients. For patients with dementia, the standard imaging work-up has been MR and FDG-PET imaging of the brain. These diagnostic studies often help to establish the diagnosis of AD by distinguishing it from other conditions such as fronto-temporal dementia. However, these studies are less useful early on in the disease, at a time when treatment modifications may still be effective.

    Clinical guidelines require the presence of dementia to make the diagnosis of AD. However, by then, it may be too late to halt or even delay the progression with treatments aimed at reducing amyloid deposition. The recent FDA approval of F18-Florbetapir, an amyloid tracer and imaging biomarker, is a giant leap forward.

    As with any diagnostic test, amyloid imaging carries with it the expectation of increased diagnostic certainty, or at least the potential to alter medication choices and regimens, and/or improve patient understanding and motivation. The strength of amyloid imaging lies in its high negative predictive value. Its best use is when the presentation is atypical or when someone has an early-onset and objectively verified cognitive decline. This is where MR imaging and FDG-PET fall short. Amyloid scanning should neither be the front-line imaging study for elderly patients with cognitive decline nor a screening test for AD.

    It is important to emphasize that amyloid deposits in the brain do not automatically equate to Alzheimer disease. With the appropriateness criteria and indications for amyloid scanning now established, CMS should work swiftly to approve reimbursement. Research can then be appropriately directed at drug development strategies for amyloid removal or perhaps even methods for preventing amyloid deposition in the first place.

    Read “Amyloid PET Imaging Plays Pivotal Role in Alzheimer’s Care.”

    Laurie A. Loevner, M.D.
    Laurie A. Loevner, M.D., is a professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the RSNA News Editorial Board and is a past-recipient of an RSNA Research & Education Foundation Research Scholar Grant.
  • comments powered by Disqus

We appreciate your comments and suggestions in our effort to improve your RSNA web experience.

Name (required)


Email Address (required)


Comments (required)





Discounted Dues: Eligible North American Countries 
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Netherlands Antilles
St. Vincent & Grenadines
Country    Country    Country 
Afghanistan   Grenada   Pakistan
Albania   Guatemala   Papua New Guinea
Algeria   Guinea   Paraguay
Angola   Guinea-Bissau   Peru
Armenia   Guyana   Phillippines
Azerbaijan   Haiti   Rwanda
Bangladesh   Honduras   Samoa
Belarus   India   Sao Tome & Principe
Belize   Indonesia   Senegal
Benin   Iran   Serbia
Bhutan   Iraq   Sierra Leone
Bolivia   Jordan   Solomon Islands
Bosnia & Herzegovina   Jamaica   Somalia
Botswana   Kenya   South Africa
Bulgaria   Kiribati   South Sudan
Burkina Faso   Korea, Dem Rep (North)   Sri Lanka
Burundi   Kosovo   St Lucia
Cambodia   Kyrgyzstan   St Vincent & Grenadines
Cameroon   Laos\Lao PDR   Sudan
Cape Verde   Lesotho   Swaziland
Central African Republic   Liberia   Syria
Chad   Macedonia   Tajikistan
China   Madagascar   Tanzania
Colombia   Malawi   Thailand
Comoros   Maldives   Timor-Leste
Congo, Dem. Rep.   Mali   Togo
Congo, Republic of   Marshall Islands   Tonga
Cote d'Ivoire   Mauritania   Tunisia
Djibouti   Micronesia, Fed. Sts.   Turkmenistan
Dominica   Moldova   Tuvalu
Domicican Republic   Mongolia   Uganda
Ecuador   Montenegro   Ukraine
Egypt   Morocco   Uzbekistan
El Salvador   Mozambique   Vanuatu
Eritrea   Myanmar   Vietnam
Ethiopia   Namibia   West Bank & Gaza
Fiji   Nepal   Yemen
Gambia, The   Nicaragua   Zambia
Georgia   Niger   Zimbabwe
Ghana   Nigeria    

Legacy Collection 2
Radiology Logo
RadioGraphics Logo 
Tier 1

  • Bed count: 1-400
  • Associate College: Community, Technical, Further Education (UK), Tribal College
  • Community Public Library (small scale): general reference public library, museum, non-profit administration office

Tier 2

  • Bed count: 401-750
  • Baccalaureate College or University: Bachelor's is the highest degree offered
  • Master's College or University: Master's is the highest degree offered
  • Special Focus Institution: theological seminaries, Bible colleges, engineering, technological, business, management, art, music, design, law

Tier 3

  • Bedcount: 751-1,000
  • Research University: high or very high research activity without affiliated medical school
  • Health Profession School: non-medical, but health focused

Tier 4

  • Bed count: 1,001 +
  • Medical School: research universities with medical school, including medical centers

Tier 5

  • Consortia: academic, medical libraries, affiliated hospitals, regional libraries and other networks
  • Corporate
  • Government Agency and Ministry
  • Hospital System
  • Private Practice
  • Research Institute: government and non-government health research
  • State or National Public Library
  • Professional Society: trade unions, industry trade association, lobbying organization