A FDA advisory panel unanimously endorsed the first Alzheimer’s diagnostic for a living patient. MRI scans can detect the plaque within the brain which is a hallmark of the disease. Currently the only way to determine the existence of the plaque is by autopsy.
The information from the MRI, coupled with an individual’s cognitive issues, would help doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s disease earlier and enable the afflicted to plan and make decisions while they are still cognitively intact. At this time there is no treatment which is clinically proven to slow down disease progression.
Without the scan, doctors have extremely limited ability to render a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease until the disease is quite advanced. Given the unanimous recommendation of the committee, FDA approval is expected soon.