Image: Courtesy of Dan Skovronsky
 The radioactive thioflavin T derivative specifically labels amyloid plaques in the brain of a living mouse (arrows, panel a). Postmortem specimen labeled with a flourescent dye for amyloid (panel b) confirms specific labeling of plaques in vivo.

When actor Charlton Heston announced in August that he is "suffering symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease," he used qualified language because diagnosis is possible only postmortem. The lack of a clear set of symptoms and biomarkers is not only frustrating for families, but is hindering the search for treatments.

"Guidelines for treating Alzheimer's focus on symptom relief, and these are not sufficient to develop drugs to delay or prevent symptoms," said Neil Buckholtz, head of the Dementias of Aging branch of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at "Imaging Alzheimer's and other Neurodegenerative Diseases," a symposium held recently at the General Electric Global Research Center in...

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