(02/07/13) - A new test will make it easier to detect Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer's robs people of their memory and brain function, but this new tool is helping doctors catch it early, and slow the onset of symptoms.
Liebe Ostrow Miller says her husband is becoming more of a stranger to her every day, "sometimes I feel like a widow, but with a live husband. His short term memory is totally gone."
Miller's husband was neurologist Paul Schulz's first patient to have the Amyvid test. "It's chilling. It puts a chill through you the first time you see this."
Amyvid is the first test to diagnose Alzheimer's that doesn't require a brain biopsy or an autopsy. A liquid agent is injected into a patient and it binds to amyloid protein in the brain.
"We bring them (patients) in, they lay in a scanner for ten minutes and you're done," Schulz says.
When bright yellow color shows up near the edge of the brain on the Amyvid scan, it indicates an Amyloid build up. "If you have a significant amount of it, that's pretty specific for Alzheimer's disease."
Dr. Schulz says Amyvid can help catch the disease earlier and get patients on the right drug therapies to help delay symptoms longer, "breakthrough is, is not a big enough term for it."
Schulz calls Amyvid the most accurate screening for Alzheimer's in living patients. But, brain biopsies are still the gold standard.
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