New test takes guesswork out of diagnosing early-stage Alzheimer's disease

Mar 25, 2010

A new test developed by Japanese scientists may revolutionize how and when physicians diagnose Alzheimer's disease. According to a research report published online in The FASEB Journal, the new test measures proteins in the spinal fluid known to be one of the main causes of brain degeneration and memory impairment in Alzheimer's patients: high molecular weight A-Beta oligomers. This tool, once fully implemented, would allow physicians to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's disease in its early stages, a time when diagnosing the disease is very difficult.

"Alzheimer's disease is a growing problem, due to aging of the population in all developed countries," said Takahiko Tokuda, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher from the Department of Neurology at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine Graduate School of Medical Science in Japan who was involved in the work. "We hope that our new will, in the future, significantly improve the lives of people with Alzheimer's disease, and lead to much better ways of treating this devastating disorder."

Scientists developed a tool (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) that specifically measures A-Beta oligomers. They then compared the levels of these aggregates in human cerebrospinal fluid samples among three groups of people: 1) patients with diagnosed Alzheimer's disease; 2) patients with who went on to develop Alzheimer's disease; and 3) a control group with no symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Results showed that the levels of the a fragments being measured directly correlated to the extent of , with the highest levels found in those with confirmed Alzheimer's and intermediate levels in those with mild cognitive impairment. This shows that by measuring the levels of A-Beta oligomers in cerebrospinal fluid, physicians may be able to identify Alzheimer's disease before it can be clinically diagnosed using current methods.

" are getting older and Alzheimer's disease will have a tremendous impact on the memory of a generation and the lives of its children," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The . "This test is not only useful for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease, but promises to be a marker for the efficacy of newer treatments that are already on the drawing board."

Explore further: New oral drug regimens cure hardest-to-treat hepatitis C

More information: http://www.fasebj.org

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Education protects against pre-Alzheimer's memory loss

Oct 20, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with more education and more mentally demanding occupations may have protection against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the October 21, 2008, ...

Recommended for you

New oral drug regimens cure hardest-to-treat hepatitis C

1 minute ago

Two new pill-only antiviral drug regimens could provide shorter, more effective treatment options with fewer side effects for the majority of patients infected with hepatitis C, even those most difficult to treat, according ...

Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel

12 hours ago

(AP)—Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world's deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa's largest city with 21 million ...

Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia

12 hours ago

(AP)—Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people and sickened more than 700 are set to go to trial this week in Georgia.

Remote tribe members enter another village, catch flu

20 hours ago

Advocates for indigenous tribes are worried over incidents last month when some members of one of the last uncontacted tribes in the Peru/Brazil region, across borders, left their home in Peru and entered ...

Nigeria on red alert after first Ebola death

Jul 26, 2014

Nigeria was on alert against the possible spread of Ebola on Saturday, a day after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital.

User comments : 0