One of the most frustrating medical realities of Alzheimer’s disease is that a definitive diagnosis can only be made after death. Even though science has progressed to a point where many doctors feel quite sure of their diagnosis, there is still a fair chance that the diagnosis is wrong. A recent article in the Detroit Free Press about the findings of Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., head of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology, states that a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is too freely given by the medical profession. Many cases of supposed Alzheimer’s disease studied turned out to be infections, drug interactions or another type of dementia.
Now a fluorescent dye that binds to amyloid plaques typical of Alzheimer’s disease, will soon be used as a diagnostic tool. The enhanced scans can serve as a method for estimating plaque content in the brains of people exhibiting cognitive decline.