16 March 2009

Diagnostic markers show early signs of brain damage

Brain damage found in cognitively normal people with Alzheimer's marker
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: 10 March 2009
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have linked a potential indicator of Alzheimer's disease to brain damage in humans with no signs of mental impairment.

Although their cognitive and neurological assessments were normal, study participants with lower levels of a substance known as amyloid beta 42 (A-beta 42) in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) had reduced whole brain volumes, suggesting that Alzheimer's changes might already be damaging their brains. Scientists previously showed that low CSF levels of A-beta 42 mark the presence of amyloid deposition in the brain, a key diagnostic marker of the amyloid plaques that characterize Alzheimer's disease.

Evidence is mounting that Alzheimer's harms the brain for many years before physicians and family members can detect symptoms, and this has led many to conclude that successful Alzheimer's treatments may only be possible if scientists find ways to identify pre-symptomatic sufferers. … > full press release

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