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Editor's Note |

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Amyloid-β Positron Emission Tomography for Alzheimer Disease

Robert Steinbrook, MD
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(1):135. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11705.
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Amyloid-β (Aβ) positron emission tomography (PET) has attracted great interest for its potential role as a diagnostic test for Alzheimer disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative diseases. At present, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) does not cover Aβ PET imaging.

In July 2013, the CMS issued a draft decision for public comment about the use of Aβ PET,1 proposing “that the evidence is insufficient to conclude that the use of [Aβ PET] imaging improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with dementia or neurodegenerative disease.” In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Pearson and colleagues at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review summarize their review2 of the evidence for the imaging in the diagnostic evaluation of AD. They found that “the medical literature provides extremely limited data with which to evaluate the clinical utility of Aβ PET.” Their review was part of the background material for CMS’s technology assessment of the current status of the scans.1

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