The need for "objective measurements" in FDG and amyloid PET neuroimaging

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The process leading to the identification and validation of biomarkers for the diagnosis of early Alzheimer's disease (early AD) has been a major focus of research interest in the past 10 years, and has been accompanied by a debate on the feasibility of implementing the research criteria in clinical practice. In the context of imaging performed using the two currently identified classes of AD biomarkers, i.e. markers of pathology and neurodegeneration, amyloid PET and 18F-FDG PET imaging are decisive tools whose crucial value is acknowledged in the recent guidelines for the early diagnosis of AD and other dementia conditions. The available recommendations draw on an extensive body of PET imaging literature, based mainly on visual methods. For the research criteria to be adopted in clinical settings, several uncertainties and gaps in knowledge must be overcome, in particular the low sensitivity and specificity provided by visual qualitative PET scan evaluation at the single-subject level. Indeed, the sensitivity and specificity of the 18F-FDG PET methods depend largely on the use of "objective methods" that result in improved accuracy for diagnosis and prognosis. Here, we review the most widely used parametric and semi-quantitative approaches to 18F-FDG PET and amyloid PET imaging, highlighting their importance in early and differential diagnosis in both research and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-342
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Translational Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Amyloid
  • Parametric analysis
  • Partial volume effects
  • Quantification
  • Quantitative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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