We've talked before about the recent use of PET (a specialized brain scan which is short for positron emission tomography) scans as a means for clinicians to make a tentative diagnosis of dementia. The downside of PET scan use has been the high cost and availability as some physicians might not think to use them in the diagnostic process.
A new study from the University of Kuopio in Finland has shown that the PET scan may be very useful since it can show the actual build-up of damaging protein in the brain called "beta-amyloid". This protein build-up is one of the noted issues seen in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Here is how it works: