A Simple Scan Could Detect Dementia Before Symptoms Appear

By | June 28th, 2017

We’ve been told you can only confirm the presence of Alzheimer’s disease in a living person through something called a PET scan or a lumbar puncture test. Those tests detect the presence of a sticky substance in the brain called beta amyloid plaque but are extremely expensive and aren’t generally covered by insurers.

Now scientists at University of Toronto and Baycrest Rotman Research Institute have found a simple scan that can detect the earliest signs of dementia before symptoms occur. They scanned the part of the brain responsible for memory and found that having less tissue in the region is associated with greater risk of the dementia. This study looked at 40 adults between the ages of 59 -81.

Here’s where you can read more.

UPDATE, 20 November 2023: As of a landmark policy change in October 2023, Medicare now covers beta-amyloid PET scans for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

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5 thoughts on “A Simple Scan Could Detect Dementia Before Symptoms Appear

  1. My sister -in-laws cannot put faces and names together. The nerve endings no longer meet, short term memory loss. She is on namenda. and started out on aricept. She exercises every day,faithfully watched her weight! Was very heavy at one time. Taught Weight Watchers until Nov. 2018. She still drives to town for groceries.

  2. If there is family history of Alzheimers, U find yourself forgetful at 65 yrs. old is there a concern for the beginnings of Alzheimers? How soon should U start medication to slow the process of the disease? When do U start to get concerned?

  3. When taking care of Mother, and went to a ALh. support group, they mentioned , remember to try vitamin B12, as’cured” 1 person, also have noticed vitamin B1 helpful. If can eat more real foods and less processed sugars/carbs.

    1. Lynn, Consult Your Physician – Being Patient does not give medical advice, nor is any information on the site intended to be prescriptive medical advice. If you have any questions about your health or the health of your loved one, please consult your physician for any and all medical-related questions. ~ Thank you.

  4. When my brother started showing signs of early onset dementia I got an appointment for him with a neurologist. I didn’t mess with a PCP because they aren’t trained for this and would have sent us to a neurologist anyway. It’s hard to imagine an insurance company paying for a scan before symptoms show up, unless a genetics test revealed the genes that could create dementia.

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