Scientists are not absolutely sure what causes brain cell death and tissue loss in Alzheimer’s disease, but two abnormal brain lesions – known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles – are prime suspects. Amyloid plaques are abnormal clusters of protein fragments that build up between nerve cells in the brain that form when fragments of the amyloid protein clump together.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved florbetapir (Amyvid), a radioactive dye for use with PET scans for detecting the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain. With this approval came many news stories claiming this would be a new test to detect Alzheimer’s, but it’s not exactly that simple. Continue reading “Can a newly approved test diagnose Alzheimer’s?” »