Scientists have revealed a new diagnosis tool, one that may help distinguish in between dementia and depression. The Brain SPECT Imaging may help distinguish if the patient has one or both these affections.
Clinicians are faced with a hard task when trying to set an appropriate diagnosis for a number of health issues. And this becomes even more difficult when some of the exhibited symptoms are markers for more than one disease.
Which is the case, for example, for dementia and depression. Some of the depression symptoms are similar to CD ones. CD or cognitive disorders have similar markers with depression.
But scientists have developed a system that may make it easier to distinguish between the two. And this new system is the SPECT imaging. SPECT is the single photon emission computed tomography.
A study on the matter was released earlier this month. It was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The research paper was titled as follows. “Classification of Depression, Cognitive Disorders, and Co-Morbid Depression and Cognitive Disorders with Perfusion SPECT Neuroimaging”.
According to Daniel G. Amen, being able to accurately distinguish between depression and dementia is very important. Especially so if the diagnosis is faster and even more accurate. Amen is an M.D. psychiatrist and researcher.
As such, the SPECT imaging may provide a much-needed answer for a “critical clinical question”. One which will have practical implications for the patient treatment and management process.
SPECT could come and help establish the appropriate diagnosis and also treatment. Depression and dementia have both different prognoses and treatments. But they also present some similarities and symptoms.
For example, cognitive impairment can be noted in about a half of the people to develop late-onset depression. This latter, in itself, is present in around 9 to 65 percent of the persons that suffer from dementia.
Previous studies have shown the following. The prevalence of depression in mild cognitive impairment cases can amount up to 25 percent. As such, this makes it harder to diagnose and treat the respective diseases as they could get mixed up.
The brain SPECT imaging technique was already used in a study. The largest of its kind, it involved 4541 patients. Out of the, 3269 have been diagnosed as suffering from depression. And 847 were diagnosed and have dementia. At the same time, 425 participants were noted to suffer from both these conditions.
All the study participants went through the SPECT imaging.
This nuclear medicine study measured a specific set of factors. It analyzed the blood activity and flow. The research led to the following results. People with cognitive disorders have a reduced blood flow when compared to those suffering from dementia. This decrease affects multiple areas of the brain. The parietal and temporal lobes, as well as the hippocampus, are particularly affected.
The studies also attested the SPECT imaging’s efficiency. This system can distinguish between depression and dementia with an 86 percent degree of accuracy.
Brain SPECT imaging can also distinguish the affection in patients that suffer from both these conditions. In such cases, its degree of accuracy reached 83 percent.
As such, brain SPECT imagining could come to be used in distinguishing between the conditions. Depression, on its own, can also be diagnosed by using a number of other tools. One such method is the Beck Depression Inventory.
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