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Positron emission tomography for the early diagnosis of dementia.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Administration on Aging FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AOA U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, Washington DC 20201 PHONE 202.619.0724 / FAX 202.357.3523 / EMAIL [email protected] / WEB Alzheimer’s Disease W HAT IS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE? The occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not a normal development in the aging process. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a gradual loss of memory, decline in the ability to perform routine tasks, disorientation, difficulty in learning, loss of language skills, impaired judgment and ability to plan, and personality changes. Over time, these changes become so severe that they interfere with an individual’s daily functioning, resulting eventually in death. While the disease can last from 3 to 20 years after the onset of symptoms, the average duration is 8 years. Alzheimer’s disease affects as many as 4 million Americans. Most people diagnosed with AD are older than 65. However, it is possible for the disease to occur in people in their 40’s and 50’s. Recent research has shown links between some genes and AD, but in about 90% of cases, there is no clear genetic link. S YMPTOMS Alzheimer’s disease manifests itself slowly and subtly, with the first symptoms often appearing to be mild forgetfulness. From time to time, we all forget where we have put our keys, but people with early stage AD may notice that they tend to forget things more often. They may have trouble remembering recent events, names of familiar people or things. While these symptoms are bothersome, they are usually not serious enough to cause alarm. As the disease advances, the symptoms become serious enough to cause people with AD or their family members to recognize that things are not right and that help is needed. As the disease progresses further, people with AD eventually forget how to do simple tasks like brushing their teeth, or co

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