The recent development of several tau positron emission tomography (PET) tracers represents a major milestone for the Alzheimer's disease (AD) field. These tau PET tracers bind tau neurofibrillary tangles, a key neuropathological characteristic of AD that is tightly linked to synaptic loss, brain atrophy, and cognitive decline. It is notable that these tau PET tracers show low uptake in most non-AD tauopathies and other neurodegenerative disorders, resulting in a diagnostic specificity that is superior to that of amyloid beta (Aβ) PET and biofluid markers, especially at an older age when incidental Aβ pathology is common. Furthermore, tau PET tracers diagnostically outperform widely used MRI markers. Given its excellent diagnostic performance due to the combination of high sensitivity and specificity for detecting tau pathology in AD dementia, we hypothesize that tau PET can become an important diagnostic tool in specialized clinics for the differential diagnosis of dementia syndromes where AD is among the major possible underlying diseases.
- Alzheimer's disease
- differential diagnosis