PET Scan For Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis

PET Scan For Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis

PET Scan Alzheimer's Disease


Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder, is the most common form of dementia that poses challenges to the patients, their families, or caregivers. In this article, we will discuss Alzheimer’s disease, focusing particularly on the role of PET scans in its diagnosis and management.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects cognitive function, memory, and behaviour. It is the most common cause of dementia, a term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is characterised by the presence of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, including beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which disrupt normal brain function and lead to the death of brain cells. 

Who Is At Risk?

  • Ageing is a primary risk factor.
  • Genetics. 
  • Lifestyle choices such as poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and alcohol consumption, poor sleep quality and others.
  • Environmental toxins such as exposure to heavy metals and air pollution.

What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms Of Having Alzheimer’s Disease?

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease vary across its stages.

In the mild stage, individuals may experience short-term memory loss, difficulty with daily tasks, and mood changes. As the disease progresses to moderate and severe stages, symptoms worsen, affecting long-term memory, communication, and basic bodily functions.

Some signs to look out for:


  • Memory Loss – Forgetfulness, especially of recent events or conversations.
  • Difficulty With Tasks – Struggles with tasks that were once routine, such as managing finances or following a recipe.
  • Disorientation – Becoming lost in familiar places or forgetting the date or time.
  • Misplacing Items – Putting objects in unusual places or forgetting where commonly used items are kept.
  • Changes In Mood Or Personality – Increased anxiety, irritability, or mood swings.
  • Poor Judgement – Making decisions that are out of character, such as wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather.


  • Memory Impairment – Significant memory loss, including forgetting personal history or important events.
  • Language Difficulties – Struggling to find the right words, repeating phrases, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Disorientation – Increasing confusion about surroundings and familiar places.
  • Difficulty With Daily Tasks – Struggling to perform activities of daily living independently, such as bathing, dressing, or cooking.
  • Changes In Behavior – Agitation, aggression, or wandering.
  • Hallucinations Or Delusions – Seeing or hearing things that are not present, or holding false beliefs.
  • Impaired Motor Skills – Difficulty with coordination and balance, leading to increased risk of falls.


  • Loss of Communication – Inability to speak coherently or understand language.
  • Loss of Motor Function – Difficulty walking, sitting, or swallowing.
  • Loss of Bladder And Bowel Control – Incontinence becomes common.
  • Loss Of Recognition – Difficulty recognising loved ones or familiar faces.
  • Extreme Dependence – Complete reliance on caregivers for all activities of daily living.
  • Severe Cognitive Decline – Inability to remember recent events or even recognize oneself in the mirror.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease involves a comprehensive evaluation, including medical history, cognitive assessments, laboratory tests, and neuroimaging techniques such as PET scans. 

ET scans play a crucial role in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease by detecting metabolic changes and brain abnormalities associated with the condition. By providing detailed images of brain function and structure, PET scans assist healthcare professionals in early detection, accurate diagnosis, and personalised treatment planning.

How Can PET Scan Detect Alzheimer’s Disease?

1. Amyloid PET Scans 

Amyloid PET scans detect the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are abnormal protein deposits found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques disrupt normal brain function and contribute to cognitive decline. By visualising the distribution and density of beta-amyloid plaques, amyloid PET scans provide valuable insights into the underlying pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and aid in its diagnosis.

2. Tau PET Scans

Tau PET scans detect the presence of tau protein tangles, another hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Tau protein abnormalities lead to the formation of tangles within neurons, disrupting cellular function and contributing to neurodegeneration. Tau PET scans visualise the distribution and severity of tau tangles in the brain, helping to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from other types of dementia and providing insights into disease progression.

3. Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET Scans

FDG PET scans assess brain metabolism by measuring the uptake of glucose, a primary energy source for brain cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, there is a characteristic pattern of reduced glucose metabolism in specific brain regions affected by the disease. FDG PET scans visualise these metabolic changes, helping to identify areas of the brain that are most affected by Alzheimer’s pathology and supporting its diagnosis.

How Does Alzheimer’s Look Like In A PET Scan?

View an example by Mayo Clinic of a PET scan comparing a typical brain to one affected by Alzheimer’s here

How Much Do PET Scans For Alzheimer’s Cost In Singapore?

PET scans in Singapore for diagnosis of Alzheimer’s may cost from over $9,000 to $12,000.

What Are The Treatments Available?

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, various treatment options aim to alleviate symptoms, slow disease progression, and enhance quality of life. These may include medication, lifestyle modifications, and supportive therapies.

Contact Us For Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms suggestive of Alzheimer’s disease, consulting a healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation, including PET scan, can provide valuable insights and guidance in managing the condition.

Health365 has partnerships with trusted healthcare providers in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Contact us for an introduction to a doctor for Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.