The FDA has approved a brain scan agent to help evaluate progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This agent, called Amyvid, helps clump together beta-amyloid proteins in patients with cognitive impairment, i.e., brain dysfunction, to help evaluate Alzheimer’s disease or help find other causes for the impairment.

Once Amyvid, a radioactive agent, binds to the amyloid plaques, it is detected using a brain scan. A negative scan shows sparse to no amyloid plaques are present. This means the mental dysfunction being experienced by the patient is not Alzheimer’s but due to some other reason.

With a postiive scan showing more plaques are present, this is consistent with Alzheimer’s disease but not a definitive diagnosis. The safety and effectiveness of this test has not been established for prediction development of dementia or diagnostic for following the progression of disease or response to therapy.

Clinical trials showed some adverse reactions to the Amyvid agent, including headache (1.8 percent), musculoskeletal pain (0.8 percent), fatigue (0.6 percent), nausea (0.6 percent), anxiety (0.4 percent), back pain (0.4 percent), blood pressure increased (0.4 percent), claustrophobia (0.4 percent), feeling cold (0.4 percent), insomnia (0.4 percent) and neck pain (0.4 percent). So, the side effects are relatively rare statistically speaking.

While diagnosis is superb, this is after the fact, isn’t it? This means the person is already suffering from problems, which likely started years ago. A simple diagnosis showing that this is coming in would be even better.

Since we are living longer than previous generations, and we are less active and eat worse food, mental impairment is on the rise. We need to move past just medicine and surgery to cure our ills, but to take a proactive part in making ourselves and our families healthier and more robust. It is a rare adult to reach the age of 80 and not be taking any drug or medicine. Those rare people are looked at in disbelief by their doctors. Shouldn’t it be the other way around. It’s not genes that makes them healthy, but healthy choices.

Here is reference to the original article:

The FDA has approved Amyvid, a radioactive diagnostic agent from Eli Lilly and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals that is indicated for brain imaging of beta-amyloid plaques in patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease

While the FDA has approved a brain scan agent to help evaluate progression of Alzheimer’s disease, moving to a healthier lifestyle and looking for ways to diagnose future problems long before the mental decline are the next steps to help nip this growing problem in the bud.