HOUSTON, Tex. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- More than five million Americans are being robbed. They’re memories and function stolen by a thief that affects their brains. Now, a new tool is helping doctors catch it in the act.
Liebe Ostrow Miller doesn’t want us to show you her husband’s face or mention his name. A stranger to us, he’s becoming more of a stranger to her.
“Sometimes I feel like a widow, but with a live husband. His short term memory is totally gone,” Miller told Ivanhoe.
He was neurologist Paul Schulz’s first patient to have the Amyvid test.
“It’s chilling. It puts a chill through you the first time you see this,” Dr. Paul Schulz at Mischer Neuroscience Institute told Ivanhoe.
It’s the first test to diagnose Alzheimer’s that doesn’t require a brain biopsy or an autopsy. A liquid agent is injected into a patient and binds to amyloid protein in the brain.
“We bring them in they lay in a scanner for ten minutes and you’re done,” Dr. Schulz stated.
The bright yellow near the edge of the brain in the scan shows a large amyloid build up.
“If you have a significant amount of it, that’s pretty specific for Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Schulz said.
Dr. Schulz says Amyvid can help catch the disease earlier and get patients on the right drug therapies to help delay symptoms longer.
“Breakthrough is, is not a big enough term for it,” Dr. Schulz explained.
He hoped Liebe’s husband’s scan would be negative.
“I have to tell you my heart sunk,” Dr. Schulz said.
It showed he did have Alzheimer’s.
“It’s hard. It’s sad and it’s lonely,” Miller said.
Liebe says unfortunately her husband is too far along for the Amyvid results to help him find a better treatment. Dr. Schulz believes Amyvid is by far the most accurate test for screening for Alzheimer’s in the living, but brain biopsies are still the gold standard because they don’t have the potential for a false positive. He says the test could be tricked by someone without cognitive problems who has a lot of amyloid build up. For that reason Schulz only uses Amyvid on patients who have Alzheimer’s symptoms.
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