Amyloid (abnormal protein) plaques in the brain are a feature of Alzheimer disease and imaging the brain with positron emission tomography (PET) can detect them. This study examined whether such imaging is associated with changes in patient care, although amyloid deposits also occur with other neurological disorders and in cognitively normal older adults.
This study included about 11,400 Medicare beneficiaries with dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) of uncertain cause who underwent amyloid PET. Results were positive in 55 percent of patients with MCI and 70 percent of patients with dementia. Researchers report the use of amyloid PET was associated with changes in the clinical management of patients within 90 days. The observational design of this study limits attributing changes in patient care to the imaging results and further research is needed to determine whether amyloid PET is associated with improved clinical outcomes.