ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A new test at Lehigh Valley Health Network allows patients to find out if they have Alzheimer's disease.

"I was having memory problems finding places that I should be able to find, and remembering names," said Jerome Greene, a patient at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Greene and his wife visited Lehigh Valley Health Network to find out the cause of Greene's recent memory loss.

"I wanted to know, did I have Alzheimer's or not?," Greene said. 

The scan also helps doctors predict the likelihood of patients developing the disease in the future.

"They're put on the scanning table and the scan takes 10 minutes. It's a fairly quick exam," said Robert Rienzo, the Chief of Nuclear Medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Then, doctors examine the data searching for the presence of a protein called amyloid.

"Amyloid is the protein that accumulates in the brain of people who are going to develop and develop Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Lorraine Spikol, a neurologist at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Previously, clinicians would follow a patient over time to determine if he or she had Alzheimer's.

"If the scan is negative you're 97% sure you do not have Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Rienzo.
 
Although there's no cure for Alzheimer's, doctors say just identifying the disease early-on is a big step"

"We'll know who has it, we'll be able to enroll people successfully in treatment trials and hopefully find a cure," Dr. Spikol said.

Greene underwent the exam. It's a decision he and his family are happy to have made.

"We found out it wasn't, so therefor it's a positive thing so we can let our kids know that it's not something they'd have to worry about," Greene said.