Biomarkers accurately flag Alzheimer's at early stage

Alzheimer's typically starts to set in as much as a decade before classic symptoms of the disease start to become noticeable. Now new research is helping to zero in on a set of biomarkers that can flag the memory-wasting disease at an early stage--a transformative shift that will help initiate new treatments at a very early stage.

The researchers set out by focusing on three biomarkers: cerebrospinal fluid beta-amyloid protein 1-42 (CSF Aß1-42), total CSF tau protein and CSF phosphorylated tau181P (P-Tau181P) protein concentrations. The researchers analyzed the data on 114 people with normal cognitive behavior, 200 who were mildly impaired and 102 diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. They then identified a disease "signature" that could be found in 90 percent of Alzheimer's patients, about 72 percent who were mildly impaired and a little more than a third of the cognitively normal.

"Demonstrating that Alzheimer's disease biomarkers, such as cerebrospinal fluid beta-amyloid protein 1-42 (CSF Aß1-42), total CSF tau protein and CSF phosphorylated tau181P (P-Tau181P) protein concentrations are true indicators of the pathogenic process at an early stage is a major challenge," the study's Belgian researchers commented. But they're well on their way to meeting the challenge.

"In one study consisting of 68 autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer's disease cases, 94 per cent were correctly classified with the Alzheimer's disease feature. In another data set with 57 patients with mild cognitive impairment followed up for five years, the model showed a sensitivity of 100 percent in patients progressing to Alzheimer's disease."

- here's the story from the Irish Medical Times

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