Positron Emission Tomography in the Study of Aging and Senile Dementia
(18)F-2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose ((18)FDG) is a positron emitting tracer for rate of glucose utilization in brain. When used in conjunction with positron emission tomography (PET), the PET-FDG technique permits in vivo quantitation of regional brain metabolism in man. We have applied this technique to the study of regional brain function in normal aging and senile dementia. Preliminary results for 7 patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT) and 3 elderly normal subjects indicated a large, statistically significant (p < 0.01) diminution in rate of glucose utilization in SDAT. Furthermore, the degree of diminution in metabolic activity in SDAT was highly correlated with objective measures of degree of cognitive impairment. These results demonstrate the feasibility and potential utility of the PET-FDG technique for studying regional brain function in normal aging and dementia.