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Study: Cognitive Markers or Biomarkers to manage Cognitive Health across the Lifespan?

Posted Sep 12 2011 10:46am

Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease More Accurate Through Cognitive Changes Than Biomarkers (Medical News):

  • “Measuring people’s changes in cognitive abilities is a better predictor of Alzheimer’s disease than changes in biomarkers, researchers from the Benito Menni Complex Assistencial en Salut Mental, Barcelona, Spain, reported in Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA journal.”
  • “The investigators used a range of tests to assess the participants’ cognition and how well they functioned. Cognition is the mental process of knowing, and includes perception, awareness, reasoning and judgment. They also took cerebrospinal fluid samples from them at the beginning of the study and every year for two years. Participants’ blood samples were also taken when the study began — this was tested for genes which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. From MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) results included in the ADNI, they were able to gather data on the participants’ cortical thickness and brain volume.
  • “They found that cortical thickness of the left middle temporal lobe of the brain, as well as two measures of delayed memory in those with MCI were linked to a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease within 24 months.
  • Changes in functional activity (Editor’s Note: our emphasis to highlight the need to evaluate changes over time, not just one time activity) scores seemed to show a greater rate of decline in the participants than changes in biomarkers.”

This is consistent with one of the most insightful sessions held during the 2011 SharpBrains Summit , on  The Role of Cog­ni­tive Health Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tems (requires registration to view): A missing piece in today’s brain health toolkit is the capa­bil­ity to mon­i­tor a person’s cog­ni­tive per­for­mance and Cog­ni­tive Reserve across the lifes­pan. Such a sys­tem could greatly facil­i­tate the pre­ven­tion, diag­no­sis and treat­ment of cog­ni­tive decline due to aging and dis­ease. Pol­icy, research and tech­nol­ogy strands are con­verg­ ing to bet­ter define and meet this need: Which instru­ments, plat­forms and ana­lyt­i­cal approaches could pro­vide the data and out­comes required? How will behav­ioral mark­ers com­ple­ment bio­log­i­cal and neu­roimag­ing mark­ers? How may cog­ni­tive mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems be devel­oped, mar­keted and used?

  • Dr. Yaakov Stern, Head Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Divi­sion of the Taub Insti­tute, Colum­bia University
  • Dr. David Darby, Chief Med­ical Offi­cer, CogState
  • Dr. Jef­frey Kaye, Direc­tor, NIA — ORCATECH
  • Mod­er­ated by: Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor, Albert Ein­stein Col­lege of Medicine

To learn more about the 2011 SharpBrains Summit (recordings are now available): click Here .

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