Diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's disease continues to befuddle scientists, but new biomarkers found in mice and tracked in a clinical trial could indicate how dementia progresses in humans, a group of researchers at the Italian Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care (IRCCS) Fatebenefratelli found.
In a study published online in Neurology, scientists found that all patients with all biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology progressed to dementia, and only one patient with none of the multiple biomarkers progressed.
The current model of Alzheimer's disease indicates that brain amyloidosis biomarkers turn abnormal earliest, followed by biomarkers of synaptic dysfunction and loss of volume in the hippocampus. With this study, researchers hoped to provide clinical evidence of the model in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Researchers enrolled 73 patients with mild cognitive impairment to measure corresponding biomarkers, including beta-amyloid concentration in cerebral spinal fluid, and tracked the biomarkers over time.
When researchers followed up on patients with mild clinical impairment two to two and a half years later, 29 had progressed to dementia, while 44 remained stable.
According to MedPageToday, 22 had none of the markers; 11 had just abnormal beta amyloid; 11 had abnormal beta amyloid and markers of synaptic dysfunction; and 10 had all three markers. The remaining 19 patients did not fit the biomarker model. Four had both abnormal beta amyloid and loss of hippocampal volume but no indication of synaptic dysfunction. The remaining 15 had no beta-amyloid abnormality but had one or both of the other two markers.