'Early signs timeline' for Alzheimer's developed12th July 2012
UK experts have welcomed research which has seen scientists assemble a “timeline” of the unseen progress of Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear.
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the team from the Washington University School of Medicine looked at families with a genetic risk of the disease – including many from the UK - and found that signs appeared up to 25 years before the expected onset of the disease.
Alzheimer’s charities say the findings have implications for diagnosis and treatment but stress further research is needed.
Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: “This important research highlights that key changes in the brain, linked to the inherited form of Alzheimer's disease, happen decades before symptoms show, which may have major implications for diagnosis and treatment in the future.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK said the ability to detect the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s would allow people to plan and access care and treatments far sooner, and would also enable new drugs to be trialled “in the right people, at the right time.”
The research team looked at 128 people who had a 50% chance of inheriting Alzheimer’s and they underwent blood and spinal fluid tests as well as brain scans.
A drop in spinal fluid levels - a key ingredient of Alzheimer's brain plaques - can be detected 25 years before the anticipated age of disease onset; at 15 years a structural protein in brain cells can be seen in spinal fluid and brain shrinkage detected; and at 10 years slight memory problems become apparent.
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Friday 13th July 2012 @ 12:20
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Title: 'Early signs timeline' for Alzheimer's developed
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 22329
Date Added: 12th Jul 2012