Amyloid PET Scan
This is a very new radiologic scan that can see whether or not you have a protein called “amyloid plaque” in your brain. This is a very specific change noted almost exclusively in brains of people with AD. But it can be seen potentially 10-20 years before you develop symptoms — so the good news is that simply having a positive test does not mean that you have dementia. However, the reality is that if you have amyloid plaque (a positive scan) — and you live long enough without treatment — than it will almost assuredly develop. In contrast, if you don’t have amyloid plaque (a negative scan), you can say with 100% confidence that any memory changes you have are not due to Alzheimer’s disease. It is a very expensive test (and not likely to be paid for by your insurance company) so at this time — unless you want to pay ~$8000 for it — it is only available (in Spokane) through a research study at our office.