In vivo imaging of β-amyloid (Aβ) has transformed the assessment of Aβ pathology and its changes over time, extending our insight into Aβ deposition in the brain by providing highly accurate, reliable, and reproducible quantitative statements of regional or global Aβ burden in the brain. This knowledge is essential for therapeutic trial recruitment and for the evaluation of anti-Aβ treatments. Although cross sectional evaluation of Aβ burden does not strongly correlate with cognitive impairment, it does correlate with cognitive (especially memory) decline and with a higher risk for conversion to AD in the aging population and MCI subjects. This suggests that Aβ deposition is a protracted pathological process starting well before the onset of symptoms. Longitudinal observations, coupled with different disease-specific biomarkers to assess potential downstream effects of Aβ are required to confirm this hypothesis and further elucidate the role of Aβ deposition in the course of Alzheimer's disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Aβ; Brain imaging; Neurodegenerative disorders; Positron emission tomography.
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