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Early Markers of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted Aug 11 2012 10:09pm
Posted on Aug. 9, 2012, 6 a.m. in Alzheimer's Disease Diagnostics

It is postulated that certain families carry genetic mutations that associate with autosomal dominant Alzheimer's Disease (AD), an early-onset form of the condition. Randall J. Bateman, from Washington University (Missouri, USA), and colleagues analyzed data on 128 men and women enrolled in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN), including 88 who carry the genetic mutations. The team measured levels of specific blood and cerebrospinal fluid markers associated with AD, and conducted brain scans and cognitive assessments.  At 10 years before symptoms appear, changes in the brains use of glucose and minor memory issues were evident. At 15 years, elevated levels of tau, a structural protein in brain cells that can be seen in cerebral spinal fluid, as well as shrinkage of the brain, are detectable. Twenty-five years before symptom onset, certain beta amyloid proteins in the brain begin to decline.  The study authors conclude that: " We found that autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease was associated with a series of pathophysiological changes over decades in [cerebrospinal fluid] biochemical markers of Alzheimer's disease, brain amyloid deposition, and brain metabolism as well as progressive cognitive impairment.”

Randall J. Bateman, et al.  “Clinical and Biomarker Changes in Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Disease.”  NEJM, 11 July 2012. 

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