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On October 18, 2012 the radiopharmaceutical substance florbetapir, a component that helps indicate the presence of biomarkers in the brain helpful in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, was approved for use in the radioactive dye Amyvid in Europe by the European Medicines Agency.
Florbetapir is the active substance in Amyvid. Florbetapir functions by binding to beta amyloid plaques in the brain, which have been found to be present in neurodegenerative dementias including Alzheimer’s disease. Amyvid is a solution which, when injected, has the ability to show the presence of beta amyloid plaques in the brain using Positron Emmission Tomography, or PET scans.
Amyvid can be used diagnostically to show plaque density in the brains of adult patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive impairment. It can also assist in showing a negative scan, which indicates no plaques and is not consistent with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
My mother believed in a simple philosophy: that if you could do something, you should do something. If she heard of someone in trouble or a cause close to her heart, she would look at me and say “We should do something about this!” Or, and sometimes more often, “YOU should do something about this!”
My mother doesn’t say that anymore. She died this year from Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease, an aggressive form of the disease that usually strikes in your 40’s and 50’s. When I think of what my mother went through, what millions of Alzheimer’s patients are still going through, I can once again see and hear her clearly, “Do something about this!”
But what can we do about Alzheimer’s disease?
Because my mother was so young, my family saw the full spectrum of Alzheimer’s, from beginning, to tragic end. I’ve said repeatedly, no one wants a front row seat to this illness. Though it was a dark and difficult journey, I was awed and inspired by some amazing people -- people who faced Alzheimer’s head on and decided to “do something” about it.
Read the full story at the Maria Shriver blog