The prognostic value of amyloid imaging

Review Article


Mild cognitive impairment is characterized by a decline in cognitive performance without interference with activities of daily living. The amnestic subtype of mild cognitive impairment progresses to Alzheimer’s disease at a rate of 10–15 % per year and in the majority the neuropathology is intermediate between the neuropathological changes of typical ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid deposition occurs over a decade before the development of noticeable cognitive symptoms in a continuous process that starts in healthy elderly individuals. Newly developed PET amyloid imaging agents provide noninvasive biomarkers for the early in vivo detection of Alzheimer’s pathology in healthy elderly individuals and those with mild cognitive impairment. Exclusion of amyloid pathology should allow a more accurate prognosis to be given and ensure appropriate recruitment into clinical trials testing the efficacy of new putative antiamyloid agents at an earlier disease stage. The development of 18F-labelled amyloid imaging agents has increased the availability of this new technology for clinical and research use since they can be used in PET centres where a cyclotron and radiochemistry are not available. This review discusses the role of PET imaging for assessing the amyloid load in cognitively normal elderly subjects and subjects with mild cognitive impairment at risk of conversion to Alzheimer’s disease.


Positron emission tomography (PET) Amyloid imaging Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology and Nuclear MedicineUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMonzaItaly
  2. 2.Centre for Neuroscience, Department of MedicineImperial College LondonLondonUK

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