Brain Imaging Can Help Distinguish Between Depression and Cognitive Disorders Like Alzheimer’s

Brain Imaging Can Help Distinguish Between Depression and Cognitive Disorders Like Alzheimer’s
A brain imaging technique called single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, can help clinicians differentiate between depression and a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer's disease, according to new research. The study, “ Classification of Depression, Cognitive Disorders, and Co-Morbid Depression and Cognitive Disorders with Perfusion SPECT Neuroimaging,” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Depression and cognitive disorders are two common co-morbid afflictions that present overlapping symptoms. But how can clinicians distinguish between both conditions? "This is a critical clinical question that has practical implications for patient management and treatment," Daniel G. Amen, MD, lead researcher and psychiatrist, said in a news release. "These disorders have very different prognoses and treatments and being able to improve diagnostic accuracy can improve outcomes for some patients." The researchers said cognitive impairment is present in about half of those who have late-onset depression, and depression is evident in 9 percent to 65 percent of people with dementia. "Studies have indicated that the prevalence of depression in patients with mild cognitive impairment is 25%," researchers wrote. "Consequently, it is often challenging to diagnostically disentangle depression and cognitive disorders from one another." Depression is usually diagnosed with tools such as the
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.