A major advancement in Alzheimer disease research has been the development of amyloid imaging. It is well recognized that individuals with Alzheimer disease have an accumulation of a protein called amyloid in the brain. Several therapies aimed at slowing the progression of Alzheimer disease by reducing amyloid deposition are being testing in clinical trials. Imaging to detect amyloid in the brain is available in research settings and provides information that is used in conjunction with clinical evaluations. Amyloid imaging may be useful in clarifying a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease and differentiating this from other forms of dementia.
An example of amyloid imaging is provided in the figure. In this figure, there is increased activity (bright red and yellow) in the patient with Alzheimer disease representing the presence of amyloid in the brain compared to relatively no activity in the healthy control image.