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Editor's e-Note
Earlier diagnosis, earlier intervention, and better outcomes—that is the hope. PET has been shown to image beta amyloid plaques in vivo, but that knowledge still must be translated to treatments that can improve outcomes in patients. The early diagnosis leading to improved outcomes strategy used throughout medicine has not been proven in Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Andrew Stephens, MD, chief medical officer of Piramal Imaging, which developed the beta-amyloid imaging tracer florbetaben 18F, offers some thoughts on current research in this area.

— Jim Knaub, editor
e-News Exclusive
Imaging Studies Seek to Advance Alzheimer’s Care
By Andrew Stephens, MD

The rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease will be felt around the world as the aging population continues to grow. It’s estimated that nearly 5 million have Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.1 This number of new cases of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to more than double by 2050.2 Unfortunately, this impending crisis is only worsened by the fact that Alzheimer’s disease is a diagnosis of exclusion3 and is incorrect in 10% to 30% of cases.4 Definitive diagnosis can only be achieved through postmortem autopsy. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease would provide patients the best opportunity to benefit from a comprehensive life-management plan, which includes symptomatic therapies that may improve overall quality of life.

Over the past five years, significant progress has been made in updating the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease.3,5-7 Both the National Institute on Aging in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association and the European Federation of the Neurological Societies published guidelines that included the need for biomarkers—which include imaging—in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.3,5,6 More recently, SNMMI and the Alzheimer’s Association published appropriate use criteria for PET imaging of brain beta-amyloid.7 While each of these guidelines acknowledge that amyloid PET imaging does not replace clinical examination and patient history, they do note that imaging can increase diagnostic confidence.

Full story »
Other Imaging News
MRI/Ultrasound May Be More Effective at Detecting Prostate Cancer
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine recently announced the results of a study that found that combining MRI and ultrasound could be more effective at detecting high-risk prostate cancer than biopsy.

MRI Research Finds Differences Between Emotional Regulation
in People With Autism

According to University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers, brain activity when regulating emotions in autistic people varies greatly from those without autism and the larger the differences, the more severe the autism.

Brain Images Reveal Dehydration Appears to Worsen Stroke Recovery
The American Heart Association reported the results of an MRI study that found that patients who were well hydrated at the time of suffering a stroke have an increased chance of more fully recovering.

New Low-Dose CT Online Educational Product Released
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists recently launched a new online program to assist in teaching radiologic technologists various low-dose CT screening techniques for patients with lung cancer.
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In This e-Newsletter
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Big Picture
As medical imaging has risen from a radiology-specific concern to an enterprisewide need, hospitals have had to adjust to the increasing demand for images, although making that adjustment is no easy feat. Read more »

Ready, Set ... Slow
While insurance coverage for low-dose CT lung cancer screening has opened the gates, many imaging professionals believe that the number of patients who actually get screened will be well below the 7 to 10 million people now eligible. However, these professionals remain optimistic that there will be a gradual increase in the number of patients screened in coming years. Read more »

Prostatic Artery Embolization
Clinical trials are expanding as IR researchers investigate outcomes, patient selection, and the economics of this investigational alternative to surgery for enlarged prostates. Read more »

Three Scan Rule
Based on recent positive findings, researchers are questioning the 2013 decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to cover only three posttherapy follow-up FDG PET/CT scans per patient and per tumor type, including lung cancer. Read more »
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Worth Repeating
“Interest in having more information and participating in decision making about medical imaging clearly increased as patients transitioned from active cancer treatment to survivorship. Cancer survivors typically focus on healthful living and risk-factor reduction, so they were particularly eager to participate in discussions about potential long-term risks of radiation.”

Raymond H. Thornton, MD, an interventional radiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, speaking on the results of his study that found cancer patients desire more information on the risks of medical imaging
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