Narrator: This is Science Today. A UCLA study has found that a PET scan vastly improves a doctor's ability to accurately predict Alzheimer's Disease, the most common form of dementia. Dan Silverman, associate director of UCLA's Alzheimer's Disease Center, says the PET scan is a functional imaging measure.
Silverman: Meaning that we look at how active each part of the brain is at the time that the scan is being obtained, as opposed to normal structural imaging methods that are common in clinical practice, like CT scans or MRI scans.
Narrator: Basically, the PET scan measures a patient's brain metabolism – and that would include neurodegenerative patterns in the brain that occur with Alzheimer's disease.
Silverman: We found that by adding PET to the diagnostic evaluation of these patients who had mild cognitive changes, that we could improve our accuracy in predicting what would happen to them in the future. And that has the implication of also enhancing our ability to be able to intervene earlier in the course of their disease.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.