WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a radioactive imaging chemical from General Electric to help screen patients for Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
The drug, Vizamyl, is an injection of radioactive material designed to highlight abnormal brain plaque in medical imaging scans.
Dementia caused by Alzheimer's is associated with buildup of the plaque, known as beta amyloid protein. However, it can also be found in patients who do not have neurological problems.
Vizamyl works by binding to the plaque and creating images that show up on positron emission tomography, or PET, scans of the brain.
A negative scan means there is little plaque and the cause of dementia is probably not Alzheimer's, according to an FDA release. A positive scan means the patient has at least some plaque, but does not mean they definitely have Alzheimer's. The injection is intended as one tool to help physicians identify the cause of patient's cognitive decline.
Doctors currently diagnose Alzheimer's disease by observing patients and administering physical and mental tests. The disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the most common form of dementia, a term for brain disorders that affect memory, judgment and other mental functions.
Outpatient ROBOTIC HYSTERECTOMY. Trust an experienced Robotic Surgeon.