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My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I feel like we just want to be certain this is correct. I mean, she definitely fits the description in every way, but we want to confirm. She had the CT scan and that came up clear.


Is it standard to get a PET scan? Should we ask for one? Not even sure it’s safe?

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Thanks everyone. I appreciate it. I have a friend who’s mom went passed away from Alzheimer’s and she had recommended we get the PET scan.

No, we wouldn’t do anything differently. I guess we just want to confirm that this is what the doctors says or it, so we can anticipate if she will actually continue to decline...if that make sense.

I guess or it just doesn’t seem real at this point. Wishing it wasn’t.
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The noise from vacuum cleaners, earth moving equipment, well drilling rigs, etc puts me to sleep. 
Had an MRI about 1986. Very soothing. I went to sleep. Scared hell out of the techs. :-)
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Shane1124 Apr 5, 2019
I too sleep thru MRI’s. I can sleep through anything lol.
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The only way they can find out if it was ALZ is examining the brain after death.

Why put your LO thru this. They have ruled out any physical problem. Whether its Dementia of somekind or ALZ, the results are pretty much the same. The brain is dying. There will be stages. There is a great You Tube video. Go to You tube, search Alzheimers video, a list will come up. The one I like is animated with a yellow brain.
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Insurance will not usually pay for a PET. They are the best diagnostic tool, but quite costly.

What would you do differently if the result was Alzheimer's? Without that diagnosis wouldn't you still continue with the planning for future care? I imagine all of the necessary documents are in place.
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I agree with the others. I had a MRI when I was much younger after an incident of passing out. Nothing much was determined for me in relation to that incident. I am sure that test may indicate a diagnosis for your mother but it is a difficult test to endure. The patient is placed in a closed like chamber with loud noises. In the case of testing the brain it is around their head. For me it was very difficult. So much so that I don't think I could ever endure it again. Technicians just want to get it done. I had to request coming out between intervals. I imagine it could be difficult for your mother. Then what do you do with the diagnosis. Probably just what you might be doing anyway. Good luck with whichever path you choose. I would simply advise the possible stress it might entail. I know I am younger but I can vividly recall this test that happened many years ago. It is a very bad memory.
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cwillie Apr 3, 2019
I've had two MRIs. If I ever need another they'd better knock me out because I don't think I could do an hour in that tube a third time.
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Here is what the radiologists say, taken from radiologyinfo.org:

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How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed and evaluated?

No single test can determine whether a person has Alzheimer's disease. A diagnosis is made by determining the presence of certain symptoms and ruling out other causes of dementia. This involves a careful medical evaluation, including a thorough medical history, mental status testing, a physical and neurological exam, blood tests and brain imaging exams, including:

CT imaging of the head: Computed tomography (CT) scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. Physicians use a CT of the brain to look for and rule out other causes of dementia, such as a brain tumor, subdural hematoma or stroke. 

MRI of the head: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI can detect brain abnormalities associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and can be used to predict which patients with MCI may eventually develop Alzheimer's disease. In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, an MRI scan of the brain may be normal. In later stages, MRI may show a decrease in the size of different areas of the brain (mainly affecting the temporal and parietal lobes).

PET and PET/CT of the head: A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a diagnostic examination that uses small amounts of radioactive material (called a radiotracer) to diagnose and determine the severity of a variety of diseases.

A combined PET/CT exam fuses images from a PET and CT scan together to provide detail on both the anatomy (from the CT scan) and function (from the PET scan) of organs and tissues. A PET/CT scan can help differentiate Alzheimer's disease from other types of dementia. Another nuclear medicine test called a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan is also used for this purpose.

Using PET scanning and a new radiotracer called C-11 PIB, scientists have recently imaged the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in the living brain. Radiotracers similar to C-11 PIB are currently being developed for use in the clinical setting.

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What I personally would take away from this information is:

a) wait a bit. No point in further investigations too early on because there might well be nothing to see.

b) is this really going to do Mom any good?

No radiologist should agree to an investigation *purely* out of curiosity. There may be good reasons for seeking confirmation; and I do happen to know that MRIs are standard prior to Memory Clinic assessments in the NHS; but unless you really need that confirmation to serve your mother's best interests, I should hold off.
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There is no conclusive test for dementia. There's nothing like a blood test to see if you have a disease. Dementia is more about behavior than anything else. Some people with no physical signs have dementia. Others have plenty of physical indicators but don't have any behavioral symptoms.

Regardless, what would be the point?
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