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Progressing to an Imaging Agent for Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease

by Nancy Needhima on January 16, 2012 at 6:20 PM
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Progressing to an Imaging Agent for Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease

Currently there's no sign to confirm a diagnosis until a patient's death to detect the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the brain. Scientists are now reporting development and initial laboratory tests of an imaging agent showing hope in identifying signs of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the brain. Their report appears in the journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Masahiro Ono and colleagues explain that no proven laboratory test or medical scan now exists for AD, which is claiming an increasingly heavy toll with the graying of the world's population. Patients now get a diagnosis of AD based on their medical history and symptoms, and symptoms like memory loss often are identical to those of normal aging. Currently, the only definitive way to diagnose AD involves an autopsy with examination of brain samples for the presence of the clumps and tangles of abnormal protein that occur in the disease.

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The scientists describe the synthesis and lab testing of a new imaging agent (called FPPDB), which bound tightly to ß-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles — signs of AD — in human brain samples. In normal laboratory mice, which served as stand-ins for humans, FPPDB stayed in the body long enough for a PET scan (a sophisticated medical imaging technique). With further development, the imaging agent may allow early AD diagnosis in humans, the scientists indicate.

Source: Eurekalert
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