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WHO’S PAYING?


SHOULD MEDICARE PAY FOR SPINAL TAPS TO DIAGNOSE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease may now get easier with use of a test for biomarkers found in cerebrospinal fluid, but getting such a test involves a spinal tap- no fun and fairly expensive into the bargain.  Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s expert at Johns Hopkins, says the federal government should still fund the test.

LYKETSOS: They already pay a lot of money for PET scans to help improve diagnosis and prognosis in certain circumstances and in line with that reasoning I think they should start paying for these blood biomarkers pretty soon as well.  We forget that a great value to patients and families is prognosis and to the extent that these tests can help us get more accurate diagnosis and better prognosis for people who are patients, people who already have symptoms, these tests would be valuable and they should be reimbursed.   :30

Lyketsos says for those without symptoms, for now such testing is confined to a research role.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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