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B. Progress in Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. As we get older, we all experience changes in memory and while most of it is simply age-related, sometimes these changes lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Jagust: As much as technology has improved, still the only way we can diagnose Alzheimer's disease with certainty is with an autopsy. But one of the things that's happened in the last 10 to 15 years is the National Institute on Aging has funded a lot of Alzheimer's research centers around the country and one of the things that these centers have been doing is following patients over time, making a diagnosis and then following over time and getting an autopsy and so we know how well we do now when we make a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. And the fact is, we do pretty well.

Narrator: Dr. William Jagust, a professor of public health and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, will be adding to this knowledge as part of a large five-year initiative looking into how well PET scans can predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.