Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease Earlier

Researchers Identify Promising Indicators and Targets for Drug Development

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified a technique to detect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease earlier. By catching Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms are apparent, physicians can prescribe treatments to slow down the disease progression.

“With the development of this technique, we hope clinicians will be able to detect structural brain changes that are typical of Alzheimer’s disease earlier, before individuals present cognitive decline, by measuring levels of brain deterioration,” said Dr. Davatzikos. “We plan to integrate MRI with other biomarkers and especially with imaging of amyloid plaques, the protein deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Results of the study demonstrated:

* Significant brain deterioration was evident a number of individuals who had no apparent symptoms when compared to cognitively healthy elderly.
* An increase of changes or abnormalities in brain structure was accompanied by a decrease in cognitive performance.
* There was an increase in Alzheimer’s-like brain deterioration as people aged.

In addition, researchers uncovered a connection between two risk factors for dementia. Alzheimer’s-like structural changes were accompanied by diseases of small blood vessels in the brain.