Positron emission tomographic studies of aging and Alzheimer disease.
In this study the positron emission tomographic (PET)-18F-2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) technique was used to study both normal aging and senile dementia. The results derived from 15 young normal subjects (mean age, 26 +/- 5 years) and 22 elderly normal subjects (mean age, 66 +/- 7 years) failed to indicate significant metabolic changes associated with age. A group of 24 patients with senile dementia (mean age, 73 +/- 7 years) showed consistent diminutions in regional glucose use relative to the elderly normals. Across all brain regions the diminutions were 17%-24%. There were also significant correlations between the measures of glucose use and the measures of cognitive functioning. Discriminant function classification analysis results indicate that better than 80% classification accuracy can be achieved for individual PET measures. These data suggest a possible future diagnostic use of PET in senile dementia.