Using amyloid PET imaging to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Cognitive dysfunction affects 40-60% of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The neuropsychological profile commonly consists of a subcortical pattern of deficits, although a proportion of patients have a severe progressive cortical dementia. However, patients with MS can be affected by other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Little is known about the co-existence of these two conditions but distinguishing dementia due to MS alone from a coexisting neurodegenerative disease is challenging. Amyloid PET imaging has allowed improved AD diagnosis, especially in patients with atypical presentations or multiple possible causes of cognitive impairment. Amyloid PET demonstrates increased cortical signal in AD, whereas reductions in subcortical uptake are associated with demyelination. To the authors knowledge, there are no reports of clinical Amyloid PET use in MS patients with dementia.Here, three MS patients presenting to the Cognitive Neurology Clinic with progressive cognitive impairment are described. Due to lack of diagnostic clarity from standard investigations, they underwent Amyloid PET Imaging with 18F-florbetapir according to established appropriate use criteria and after review by a multidisciplinary team.Two patients were diagnosed with AD based on positive Amyloid PET imaging and were subsequently started on cholinesterase inhibitor treatment. The other patient had a negative scan, leading to further investigations and identification of another potential cause of worsening cognitive impairment.The experience from this case series suggests that Amyloid PET Imaging may be of diagnostic value in selected patients with MS and dementia. In these individuals, it may provide diagnostic clarity and assist with therapeutic decisions.