This health video focus' on researchers in California saying an image of the brain may be the answer to identifying Alzheimer's disease before the symptoms show. Watch this video to learn more.
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Jennifer Mathews: You are looking at Alzheimer's disease or more specifically, the traces of brain cells killed by the disease. Dr. Jorge Barrio: And this is not observable in the normal subjects. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Jorge Barrio, helped pioneer the new technology, he injected patients with a radioactive chemical marker and examined their brains with a PET scan. The images revealed the telltale plaques and tangles that used to be evident only through an autopsy. Co-researcher Gary Small says, catching the disease early is the key to treating it. Gary Small: What we have now is a new technology that for the first time allows physicians to pinpoint the disease in the living patient. Jennifer Mathews: The PET scan may flag patients years before they develop symptoms. Gary Small: We see a lower signal in people without Alzheimer's, but there's a range of signals that we see and we suspect those who have a greater signal, who don't have Alzheimer's, have a higher risk for developing the disease. Jennifer Mathews: Nancy Levitt knows all about Alzheimer's. Her mother has it. Six aunts and uncles had it and her father recently died of the disease. Nancy Levitt: At the end he was more like a shell of a person. I mean, this looks like my father, but what's inside, there is nothing left. Jennifer Mathews: Nancy knows she is at increased risk. Nancy Levitt: I don't want my three children to go through what I went through. Jennifer Mathews: She's considering joining the PET scan study, saying even if it's bad news just knowing may help her prepare. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.
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