A new type of imaging scan called DaTScanTM has been recently approved by the FDA to be used to improve the diagnosis of Parkinsonian disorders. Boston University Medical Center, an APDA Advanced Center of Excellence, is among the first institutions in the country to offer this scan. The scan is done at Boston Medical Center in the Department of Nuclear Medicine.
Developed by GE Healthcare, DaTScanTM is an imaging drug that is used to detect the presence of dopamine in the brain. This visual evidence of dopamine producing cells in the basal ganglia, a primary movement center of the brain, can help doctors to distinguish Parkinsonism from other disorders causing similar symptoms, when combined with clinical assessments.
Patients undergoing this test have DaTScanTM injected into their bloodstream and then pictures are taken of the brain by a gamma camera. The specialized camera is used to produce a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan. The images from SPECT scans combine to provide a picture of brain function rather than structure, allowing the doctor to see changes in the chemistry of the brain.
Identifying the amount of dopamine present in the brain is important because it is decreased in patients who have Parkinsonian syndromes . The test enables physicians to differentiate between PD and Essential Tremor, or certain other causes of Parkinsonism such as medication-induced Parkinsonism or vascular Parkinsonism. It does not, however, differentiate between the various Parkinsonian syndromes which include Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB).
Boston Medical Center has been designated a DaTScanTM Imaging Center of Excellence and has extensive experience using DaTscanTM in the biomarker study, Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), which is sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Boston Medical Center is one of fourteen US medical centers currently enrolling for this study.
For more information on DaTScanTM, please visit this link DaTScan. For more information on the PPMI Study, please visit this link Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative Study (PPMI).