Skip to Content

Study Findings Confirming Reliable Beta-Amyloid Imaging in the Living Brain Presented at AAN Annual meeting in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Results of a phase III study that showed tremendous reliability in the detection of beta-amyloid in the living brain will be presented by Marwan Sabbagh, MD, director of Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City Arizona.  The presentation is part of the Emerging Science Program on April 25th at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual meeting in New Orleans.

Historically, Alzheimer's disease has only been definitively confirmed through the detection of amyloid plaques and/or tangles in the brain during autopsy after death or with a brain tissue biopsy. In this new study, the drug florbetaben is used as a tracer during a PET scan of the brain to visualize amyloid plaques during life.

In order to prove that the florbetaben PET scan detects beta-amyloid in the brain, the global phase III study directly compared six brain regions in the PET scans to respective brain regions of the same subjects after death during autopsy.

Comparison of the visual assessment method proposed for florbetaben for clinical practice with the post mortem diagnosis revealed a sensitivity of 100 percent and a specificity of 92 percent. Sensitivity is the percentage of actual positives that are correctly identified as positive, and specificity is the percentage of negatives that are correctly identified.

"This is a very important finding for Alzheimer's diagnosing neurologists. It gives us a new and potentially powerful tool to be able to visualize beta-amyloid in the brain of our patients and thus diagnose and create treatment plans confidently," said study author and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, Marwan Sabbagh, MD. "This study also allows therapeutic clinical researchers the opportunity to visualize if potential new medications lower the levels of beta-amyloid in the brain."

Dr. Sabbagh is available for media interviews. Please contact Brian Browne at 602-509-2242 or email

About Banner Sun Health Research Institute

For 25 years, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, part of nonprofit Banner Health, has been a leader nationally and internationally in the effort to find answers to disorders of aging including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The institute, together with its Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium partners, has been designated by the National Institutes of Health as one of just 29 Alzheimer's Disease Centers in the nation. The institute's Cleo Roberts Center for Clinical Research takes laboratory discoveries to clinical trials that foster hope for new treatments. Banner Health is Arizona's leading health care provider and second largest private employer. For more information, visit

Brian Browne
Ph: (602) 509-2242

SOURCE Banner Sun Health Research Institute

Web Site:


Posted: April 2012