Potential Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease Early Diagnosis

Potential Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease Early Diagnosis
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive and behavioral problems. It is the most common form of dementia in the elderly with patients initially experiencing memory loss and confusion that gradually leads to behavior and personality changes, a decline in cognitive abilities and ultimately to severe loss of mental function. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the loss of neurons responsible for memory and learning, and brain formation of amyloid plaques (containing sticky beta-amyloid proteins) and tangles (twisted strands of a protein called tau). It is thought that Alzheimer’s disease starts developing long before the individual experiences clinical symptoms, therefore biomarkers that can identify the disease in an early stage, potentially allowing an earlier intervention and improved clinical outcome, would be extremely valuable. Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging are currently searching for such biomarkers. One of them is Dr. Mark Lovell, who believes that a proper biomarker must be able to predict the disease and be easily identified by a physician at a clinical setting. “Multiple studies show alterations in levels of the proteins associated with AD [Alzheimer’s disease] – tau and beta amyloid – in cerebrospinal fluid [CSF], but a spinal tap to obtain that fluid is often a hard sell for patients” explained Dr. Lovell in a news release. “Furthermore, there appears to be variability in the data connecting the levels of these proteins in CSF and the diagnosis of AD, which has limited the use of beta amyloid and tau clinically.” In the search for alternative bio
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