The New York Times on Friday January 21 reported a milestone in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, something that was previewed in our December program on Alzheimer’s Issues. An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration has recommended approval of a dye that highlights amyloid plaques -- a main marker of Alzheimer’s Disease -- during a brain scan. The technique was described for our 15 journalist-fellows by Dr. Laurie Ryan, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, whose audio presentation and slides and are available on our website, here.
The Times piece raises good questions, including how useful it is to be able to diagnose a disease for which there is no effective treatment and no cure. You can hear our panel of medical and ethics experts, including Dr. Steven DeKosky, Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia, and view their slides at the website as well.
The big question ahead, if the FDA approves the scan as expected, is how widely it would be used, and for what purpose. As several experts in our program and in today’s coverage pointed out, some people have plaques without Alzheimer’s. For that reason, it’s not suitable as a widespread screening tool, but would likely be used to confirm a suspected diagnosis. If no plaques were found, doctors could intensify their search for other causes of memory loss.
Feel free to browse our resources and contact the experts for up-to-date information relevant to your reporting on Alzheimer’s Disease. This field is moving fast, and we want to help you stay on top of it. Watch the website for an announcement and applications for Alzheimer’s Issues 2011, to be held this spring in Washington, DC.
Earlier Blog Posts
J2J Fellows: Your Work Could Win This
January 18, 2011
AP Gets It Right
January 12, 2011
Reporters’ Workshop: The 2012 Federal Budget
January 4, 2011
NPF to Reprise Alzheimer’s Program in 2011
December 17, 2010
Reporter Mark Albert of KSTP-TV, St. Paul/Minneapolis…
December 15, 2010