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Alzheimer's disease can be photographed

Feb. 17, 2004 at 9:54 PM

UPPSALA, Sweden, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Researchers at Sweden's Uppsala University announced Tuesday they have developed a technology that will allow early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

The technology works by attaching a radioactive marker, called thioflavin, to the tangles of protein, known as amyloid plaques, which are found in the brains' of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Once the amyloid plaques have been highlighted, they can be seen using positron emission tomography, or PET scans, the BBC reported.

The new technology should help physicians diagnose the disease in its earliest stages and to track how Alzheimer's attacks the brain.

Until now, it has only been possible to measure amyloid in a brain after people die, or make indirect estimates by measuring the levels in spinal fluid, according to Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society.

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