Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Indicators for Alzheimer's could lead to better and early management some day

Spinal fluid test may help diagnose Alzheimer's: Markers help spot disease early, but predicting who will develop disease is still years away
Measuring certain proteins in spinal fluid can accurately diagnose Alzheimer's and predict which patients with memory problems will develop the fatal brain-wasting disease, finds a new report by Belgian researchers.

Taken a step further, they may also help identify early signs of the disease in healthy people, the team reported Monday in the Archives of Neurology.

Geert De Meyer and colleagues at Ghent University in Belgium said measuring traces of beta amyloid and tau — two proteins associated with the telltale plaques and tangles that form in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's — accurately detected Alzheimer's in 90 percent of patients with the disease.

They were also able to detect 100 percent of people with memory impairments who would progress to Alzheimer's disease within five years. And they detected Alzheimer's proteins in 36 percent of people with normal brain function.
Alzheimer's took the vibrancy and life of my great-grandmother, and I must admit it is one of my fears of growing old, especially as I have problems with memory already in my 40s. But I have hope that developments like this can lead to early intervention and treatment, equaling a better quality of life for Alzheimer's patients.

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