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New Alzheimer’s test done for first time in Kentucky

Norton Diagnostic Center – St. Matthews certified to perform test

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 22, 2014) - Physicians in Kentucky and Southern Indiana looking for a clearer diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and causes of other cognitive decline now have a new tool at their disposal. Norton Diagnostic Center – St. Matthews has become the first facility in Kentucky to offer the Amyvid PET/CT scan.

“We are excited to have this as another tool in bringing some answers to families,” said Roy J. Meckler, M.D., neurologist with Norton Neurology Services. “This test allows us to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis so that we can begin treatment more quickly.

“This is particularly helpful when a patient is exhibiting symptoms that do not clearly point to Alzheimer’s or another issue.”

After receiving an intravenous injection of Amyvid (florbetapir), which is produced by Eli Lilly, a patient undergoes a PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) scan to determine the existence of amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaques, once only found during an autopsy, are abnormal clumps of brain cells. The absence of plaques means that Alzheimer’s disease can be ruled out. If plaques are found, further testing is needed to determine if a patient has Alzheimer’s or another neurologic condition.

The test itself takes approximately one hour, with the results available within two business days after being interpreted by a specially trained radiologist.

“The Amyvid PET/CT is an incredibly exciting new radiological test. It is the first highly reliable, noninvasive way to determine the existence of amyloid plaques in a patient’s brain,” said Bart Rydzewski, M.D., radiologist at Norton Diagnostic Center – St. Matthews. “The images of the brain generated during the test allow a specially trained radiologist to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages, potentially even before significant clinical symptoms develop. We are pleased to be the first center in Kentucky to offer this test to our patients.”

An estimated 5.2 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease, of which more than half are women and one in nine are age 65 or older. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. An estimated 67,000 people in Kentucky and 100,000 in Indiana have the disease, and those numbers are expected to grow as baby boomers age.

The Amyvid PET/CT scan must be ordered by a neurologist or other referring physician. It is currently a self-pay procedure.

To schedule a scan or for more information, call (502) 893-7145.

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