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Spinal fluid biomarkers to help detect, diagnose Alzheimer's earlier

Alzheimer's disease may be detectable earlier---even in patient's showing no cognitive decline---courtesy of three spinal fluid biomarkers, according to researchers.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Alzheimer's disease may be detectable earlier---even in patient's showing no cognitive decline---courtesy of three spinal fluid biomarkers, according to researchers.

A bevy of researchers, working primarily under a grant from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, said that they have identified spinal fluid proteins that act as a biomarker for the disease. By measuring these proteins, researchers say they can predict patients that will develop the disease.

These proteins appear to predict who will develop Alzheimer's in patients showing memory problems as well as healthy people.

In a paper, published Monday in the Archives of Neurology, the research team said:

The mixture modeling approach, totally independent of clinical AD diagnosis, correctly classified patients with AD. The unexpected presence of the AD signature in more than one-third of cognitively normal subjects suggests that AD pathology is active and detectable earlier than has heretofore been envisioned.

Today, Alzheimer's is only diagnosed via autopsy.

The researchers analyzed data from 114 older adults deemed cognitively normal, 200 with mild impairment and 102 who had Alzheimer's disease. All participants were modeled and measured for levels of three biomarkers: CSF Aβ1-42, total CSF tau protein and P-Tau181P.

In a statement, the team noted:

When these profiles were applied to the data in the subgroups, the Alzheimer's disease signature was found in 90 percent of those with Alzheimer's disease, 72 percent of those with mild cognitive impairment and 36 percent of those who were cognitively normal.

Results were validated on two other data sets. In one study consisting of 68 autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer's disease cases, 64 of 68 patients (94 percent sensitivity) were correctly classified with the Alzheimer's disease feature. In another data set with patients (n=57) with mild cognitive impairment followed up for five years, the model showed a sensitivity of 100 percent in patients progressing to Alzheimer's disease.

Via Reuters.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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