PET Imaging as a Diagnostic Tool in Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Juha O. RinneEmail author
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series (MIPT)


There is a long presymptomatic period during which a person may have biomarker evidence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathophysiology but still be cognitively intact. It is yet unclear which additional factors that ultimately will determine progression to mild cognitive impairment and eventually to AD dementia. Amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau imaging reveal in vivo the key protein aggregates seen in the AD brain and will help in early diagnosis. However, a considerable proportion of elderly individuals are Aβ PET positive while being cognitively intact. With FDG PET, a typical pattern of hypometabolism can be found in both AD and FTD, which reflects the disease progression and can be used to aid in the differential diagnostics. Moreover, tau, neurotransmitter, and neuroinflammation ligands help to understand the pathophysiology of AD, but further studies are needed to understand how they can be applied in the diagnostic process. Which combination of these biomarkers that eventually will turn out to be the most sensitive and best predictor of AD remains to be determined.

Key words

Alzheimer’s disease Amyloid Dementia Diagnosis Diagnostic FDG Neuroinflammation Neurotransmitter PET Positron emission tomography Tau 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Turku PET Centre and Division of Clinical NeurosciencesUniversity of Turku and Turku University HospitalTurkuFinland

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