A big study to help Medicare officials decide whether to start covering brain scans to check for Alzheimer’s disease missed its goals for curbing health care costs, calling into question whether the pricey tests are worth it.
The results announced Thursday are from a $100 million study of more than 25,000 Medicare recipients. It’s been closely watched by private insurers too, as the elderly population grows and more develop this most common form of dementia, which currently has no cure.
Advocates for coverage say they hope to persuade the agency that the scans still offer benefits even if they don’t save much or any money. An accurate diagnosis helps families plan for the future even if the course of the disease can’t be changed, said Dr. Gil Rabinovici of the University of California, San Francisco.
He led the study and gave results at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference taking place