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Markers may signal early Alzheimer's.

Biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid may indicate whether patients with mild cognitive impairment will progress to Alzheimer's disease and could assist in the development of new screening tools or treatments, according to Dr. Oskar Hansson of Lund University, Malmo, Sweden, and his associates.

The investigators followed 137 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who had consulted the memory disorder clinic at the university hospital during 1998-2001. A control population of 39 healthy volunteers with no memory complaints was recruited from Malmo. Subjects were followed for 4-6 years after a sample of cerebrospinal fluid was obtained from a lumbar puncture.

Of the 137 patients with MCI at baseline, 57 developed Alzheimer's disease (AD) during the study period, and 21 developed other forms of dementia. Those patients with abnormal concentrations of the biomarkers [beta]-amyloid, total tau, and phosphorylated tau at baseline were more likely to have progressed to AD (Lancet Neurol. 2006;5;228-34).

Concentrations of total tau greater than 350 ng /L and [beta]-amyloid of less than 530 ng /L at baseline were defined as pathologic. Patients with pathologic levels of the biomarkers were more than 20 times more likely to progress to AD than patients with MCI without pathologic levels of the biomarkers, the authors reported. These biomarkers have been analyzed in previous research, but the studies followed patients for only 1-2 years.
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Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 15, 2006
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