If you know anyone with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), you know that it is an insidious disease that slowly takes mobility away from its victims. ALS causes degeneration of neurons in the brain called motor neurons that control the muscles.
Those who suffer from ALS experience muscular atrophy, eventually leading to paralysis, making it hard for the person to swallow, speak, and even walk. Because many people are unaware that they have the disease until it has reached a more advanced stage, life expectancy is typically only a few years after diagnosis. Medications cannot reverse or stop the process, only delay it.
Now there is a new way to track the effects of ALS for a quicker and more accurate diagnosis that can show how the disease is progressing – PET scans. Hospitals in the New England area have been using PET scans to track progression of the disease, giving them a better understanding of ALS.
A PET scan, specifically the scan for ALS, uses a radioisotope injection to put a marker (PET ligand) into a vein in the hand or the arm. That tracer then sends off positrons, which will meet with electrons to produce gamma rays, which are then analyzed by the computer to create an image of your brain. Doctors will be able to evaluate this image and see any inflammation in the brain, and through the use of regular PET scans are able to determine how your disease has progressed.
Researchers are hopeful that this new marker will help lead to better detection and treatment of ALS and possibly eliminate this devastating disease altogether. Here at Independent Imaging, we offer PET/CT scans for a precise diagnosis of neurological disorders including ALS as well as other conditions, including Parkinson’s disease. Call (561) 795-5558 or request an appointment online with one of our skilled radiologists in Wellington, Belle Glade, or Lake Worth today.