PET scan accurately diagnoses, differentiates Parkinson's disease

Researchers presenting the results of a small study earlier this month at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's annual meeting in San Antonio indicated that they had found a clear and concise way via radiology to diagnose and distinguish Parkinson's disease from other neurological conditions, AuntMinnie reports. 

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, when combined with fluorine-18 dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), proved to be "an accurate tool for the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease," said Dr. Joanna Kusmirek, the study's lead author. Kusmirek and colleagues, whose work was published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, looked at 27 patients (and 28 scans) overall, determining that "sensitivity for DOPA-PET" to be 95.4 percent, with "specificity rated 100 percent" along with positive predictive value. 

The patients, who were "retrospectively reviewed," had undergone the DOPA-PET scanning between 2001 and 2008. Part of the reason for the study, Kusmirek pointed out, was the difficulty that can be encountered by doctors trying to distinguish Parkinson's from other conditions that can "mimic" the disease. 

Kusmirek also defended the study's size, calling it "adequate" for their purposes. 

To learn more:
- here's the Aunt Minnie's piece
- check out the study's abstract

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