Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease. It usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.

It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.

The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events.

Imaging AD Brain

Researchers continue to search for imaging biomarkers that can predict who will develop Alzheimer's.

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of brain beta-amyloid is increasingly used in research for detecting early stages of Alzheimer's.

FDG-PET imaging was a more reliable tool than a commonly used cognitive test for monitoring Alzheimer's progression

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AD Pathophysiology

The 2 pathologic hallmarks of Alzheimer disease are

- Extracellular beta-amyloid deposits (in senile plaques)

- Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (paired helical filaments)

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Treatment of AD

Cholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), galantamine (Razadyne®/Reminyl®)) can help manage Alzheimer's, but they do not cure or reverse the course of AD.

Memantine (Namenda®) has been approved for the treatment of moderate-severe AD.

A variety of medications are prescribed, with variable success, for psychiatric behavioral problems associated with AD and other dementia.

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