The Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging along with the Alzheimer's Association have recently published guidelines for the use of PET scans to look for amyloid clumps in the brain. The guidelines outline when a PET scan looking for amyloid clumps is an appropriate diagnostic tool.
The PET scan should not be the only diagnostic method used according the guidelines. They layout the following simple criteria. The scans should be used for those showing progressive memory problems, those who have possible Alzhiemer's but are "unusual in their clinical presentation" and those with progressive dementia with an early on-set. The scans should not be used to confirm Alzheimer's in individuals over 65 years old who meet existing criteria or those who are asymptomatic.
Lyn meets the criteria.
The good thing with the PET scans is that they are non-invasive. The results they provide can then be taken into account along with the other tests such as a neuro-psych evaluation to help determine if the individual has Alzheimer's or another disease causing their dementia symptoms.
Prior to the release of these guidelines, the FDA approved a radioactive agent called Florbetapir F18 specifically for use with PET scans looking for amyloid.
PET Scans Helpful; But Not Definitive for Alzheimer's Diagnosis