Biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer disease

  • Barber R
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Abstract

The existence of an effective biomarker for early detection of Alzheimer disease would facilitate improved diagnosis and stimulate therapeutic trials. Multidisciplinary clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer disease is time consuming and expensive and relies on experts who are rarely available outside of specialty clinics. Thus, many patients do not receive proper diagnosis until the disease has progressed beyond stages in which treatments are maximally effective. In the clinical trial setting, rapid, cost-effective screening of patients for Alzheimer disease is of paramount importance for the development of new treatments. Neuroimaging of cortical amyloid burden and volumetric changes in the brain and assessment of protein concentrations (eg, b-amyloid 1-42, total tau, phosphorylated tau) in cerebrospinal fluid are diagnostic tools that are not widely available. Known genetic markers do not provide sufficient discriminatory power between different forms of dementia to be useful in isolation. Recent studies using panels of biomarkers for diagnosis of Alzheimer disease or mild cognitive impairment have been promising, though no such studies have been cross-validated in independent samples of subjects. The ideal biomarker enabling early detection of Alzheimer disease has not yet been identified.

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Authors

  • Robert C Barber

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