Center for Diagnostic Imaging Joins National Study to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

VINELAND, NJ (June 30, 2016) – The Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Cumberland County’s leading privately-owned radiology facility, is participating in a new, nation-wide study for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, which could have major impact for Medicare beneficiaries in the future.

The IDEAS study, which stands for Imaging Dementia – Evidence for Amyloid Scanning, began approving dementia specialists in February 2016 and is currently enrolling eligible patients. More than 18,000 Medicare beneficiaries age 65 or older from about 200 locations across the U.S. will be chosen to participate in the next two years by approved neurologists.

The study will use brain positron emission tomography (PET) to scan the brains of patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia of uncertain cause. Dr. Vipin Gupta in Vineland has been approved as a participating neurologist in the study, and will refer eligible patients to the Center for Diagnostic Imaging in Vineland for scans.

“Neuroscience researchers are working hard to find new treatments and hopefully a cure for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Ajay Munjal, Board-Certified Radiologist at the Center for Diagnostic Imaging. “We’re eager to help the IDEAS study conduct this vital research and help patients with early detection.”

In 2013, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided not to provide coverage for PET scans in patients with dementia, due to the lack of evidence that these scans could diagnose, treat or improve brain function. The IDEAS study could establish that PET scans are useful in detecting amyloid plaques, which are a core feature of Alzheimer’s disease. The IDEAS study is Medicare-approved, and the cost of PET scans will be covered for study participants.

A PET scan involves injecting a small amount of a radioactive isotope, called a tracer, that is absorbed into the body and helps the activity of organs and tissues show up in scans. The radiation only lasts for a short time, and is about the same radiation exposure as a CT scan. Radiologists then examine the brain images for evidence of amyloid plaques, or abnormal clusters of protein fragments, which is the hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is the most frequent cause of dementia, making up 60 to 80 percent of all cases of cognitive impairment. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease affects about 170,000 people in New Jersey, and that number could rise to 210,000 by 2025.

IDEAS is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and managed by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN). For more information, visit www.ideas-study.org.

On December 8, 2016, posted in: Latest News by