login
  Password reminder
NeuroNews
Contact the editor Visit NeuroNews Twitter feed Visit NeuroNews Facebook page
 

GE Healthcare imaging technology aids in Parkinson’s disease diagnosis


Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 14:10

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is among the first institutions in the USA to offer DaTscan (GE Healthcare), the only FDA-approved imaging agent for assessment of movement disorders. This technology allows doctors to differentiate Parkinson’s from other movement disorders. Until now, there were no definitive tests to identify the disease, forcing physicians to rely on clinical examinations to make a diagnosis. 


“The scan by itself does not make the diagnosis of Parkinson’s but it allows us to identify patients who have loss of dopamine, the major chemical responsible for the symptoms, from those who have no dopamine deficiency,” said Tanya Simuni, a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial and director of Northwestern’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. “This is a very important step in being able to accurately identify and treat movement disorders and hopefully allow us to better understand these diseases over time.”


DaTscan is a substance used to detect the presence of dopamine transporters (DaT) in the brain. A patient is injected with the contrast agent and then undergoes a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan. The test captures detailed pictures of the brain’s dopamine system and can provide visual evidence of the presence of dopamine transporters. Scans of patients with Parkinson’s disease or another parkinsonian syndrome will show very low dopamine levels.


“In Parkinson’s patients the brain’s anatomy remains largely normal, unlike other conditions such as stroke, where damage to the brain is visible,” explained Simuni, who is also an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “DaTscan attaches to dopamine neurons which illuminate on the SPECT scan; the more light areas that exist, the more healthy dopamine brain cells remain. If the areas of the brain that should show dopamine remain dark, it may indicate the patient has some type of parkinsonian syndrome.”


“Even though they may appear similar, other movement disorders require different management. DaTscan allows us to confirm our diagnosis earlier and start the correct course of treatment sooner,” said Simuni. “We are hopeful that this will lead to improved quality of life for these patients with better long term outcomes, as well as protection from unnecessary treatments initiated because of misdiagnosis.”


While Simuni does not believe it is necessary for every patient to confirm their Parkinson’s diagnosis with DaTscan, she does see it as a valuable tool for patients with uncertain syndromes, or those who have not responded to treatment. She also sees it as a means for improving Parkinson’s research by ensuring those enrolled in studies actually have the disease.


DaTscan is already being used by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for its landmark biomarkers study, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), to validate that the subjects have Parkinson’s disease. Northwestern is one of the 14 US medical centres enrolling for the PPMI, which is among the first clinical trials using DaTscan in this way.


“Currently, we are not able to say with certainty that those enrolled in Parkinson’s studies have the disease,” said Simuni. “With the addition of DaTscan, we can be much more confident in the status of research subjects in both the control and experimental groups. By having a better understanding of these populations, we should be able to have clearer outcomes and hopefully that will translate sooner into treatments and eventually a cure.”


Researchers are also hopeful that DaTscan will prove to be useful in following the progression of Parkinson’s throughout a patient’s lifetime. “The disease is clinically measured at certain points of time to help physicians understand its development,” said Simuni. “A lot of questions about how Parkinson’s disease progresses can be answered if DaTscan is able to show us changes in the brain’s chemistry over time.”




Add New Comment

Related Items


Most popular


MR CLEAN: expert opinion
Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014
Since the first presentation of data at the World Stroke Congress, the MR CLEAN trial has sent a ripple across the entire neurointerventional arena, raising questions about the future of stroke ... MR CLEAN: expert opinion

First patient treated in US pivotal trial evaluating cerebral protection during TAVI
Thursday, 09 Oct 2014
The randomised controlled SENTINEL Trial is the first in the USA to study capture and removal of debris released during TAVI that may otherwise be the source of stroke. First patient treated in US pivotal trial evaluating cerebral protection during TAVI

New Envoy catheters launched
Saturday, 11 Oct 2014
Codman Neuro has announced the Europe, Middle East and Africa launch of the Envoy DA XB Distal Access Guiding Catheter and the 7F Envoy Guiding Catheter for neurovascular procedures. New Envoy catheters launched

Features


The changing face of traumatic brain injury: Life beyond the guidelines
Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014
András Büki and Andrew Maas write that despite considerable efforts both in basic and clinical research, there has not been a major breakthrough in the care of the head injured in the last three ... The changing face of traumatic brain injury: Life beyond the guidelines

Neuro-oncologic treatment for glioblastoma
Monday, 21 Jul 2014
Malignant gliomas are the most common type of primary malignant brain tumour, accounting for 80% of patients and an annual incidence of 5.26 per 100,000 population, or 17,000 new cases diagnosed per ... Neuro-oncologic treatment for glioblastoma

Profiles


Vladimír Beneš Jr
Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014
Vladimír Beneš Jr is professor and chair at the First Medical School, Charles University, P... Vladimír Beneš Jr

Mauricio Castillo
Monday, 14 Jul 2014
Mauricio Castillo is a professor of Radiology and chief, Division of Neuroradiology, University of N... Mauricio Castillo

Cardiac Rhythm News Vascular News Cardiovascular News Interventional News Spinal News NeuroNews
BIBA Medical BIBA MedTech Insights CX Symposium ilegx
 
Password Reminder

BIBA Medical, 526 Fulham Road, Fulham, London, SW6 5NR.
TEL: +44 (0)20 7736 8788 FAX: +44 (0)20 7736 8283 EMAIL: 
info@bibamedical.com
© BIBA Medical Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 2944429.
VAT registration number 730 6811 50.
Site Map | Terms and Conditions