A type of molecular imaging procedure may be capable of detecting the presence of beta-amyloid, a protein which is linked to Alzheimer's disease, according to preliminary research conducted by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals.

For the study, researchers used florbetapir F 18 – a diagnostic chemical that binds to beta-amyloid, along with positron emission tomography (PET) scanners.

Florbetapir-PET imaging was conducted on 35 patients near the end of their lives and this was compared with the beta-amyloid levels that were determined by autopsy after their death.

An analysis of images and other data indicated a correlation between florbetapir-PET images and the levels of beta-amyloid pathology at autopsy.

In addition, the Florbetapir-PET scans matched the autopsy results 96% of the time.

The authors noted that the study provides evidence that a molecular imaging procedure can identify beta-amyloid pathology in the brains of individuals during life, a development which can help identify Alzheimer’s disease.