Clinical amyloid imaging in Alzheimer's disease.
Herholz K., Ebmeier K.
The hypothesis that amyloid deposition is the leading cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is supported by findings in transgenic animal models and forms the basis of clinical trials of anti-amyloid agents. According to this theory, amyloid deposition causes severe damage to neurons many years before onset of dementia via a cascade of several downstream effects. This hypothesis has, however, not yet been directly tested in human beings because of the very limited possibility of diagnosing amyloid deposition in vivo, which until recently required either brain biopsy or PET imaging with an on-site cyclotron and radiochemistry laboratory. Moreover, a clinical diagnosis of AD requires that patients have dementia, at which stage any effective treatment aimed at reducing amyloid deposition will probably be too late.