Compounds in spinal fluid associated with faster decline among individuals with mild dementia

May 11, 2009,

Levels of biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid of individuals with very mild dementia may be associated with the rate at which their thinking, learning and memory skills decline, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Neurology.

Finding effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease will likely depend on early identification of patients, according to background information in the article. "Because there is a growing emphasis on enrolling individuals with less into of putative anti-Alzheimer's disease agents, methods are needed that will identify individuals with very mild of the Alzheimer's type who are more likely to exhibit measurable during the study," the authors write.

Barbara J. Snider, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, studied 49 individuals with a diagnosis of very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type. Participants underwent a lumbar puncture to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid, which was tested for several associated with Alzheimer's disease, including alpha-beta peptide 1-42 (Aβ42), tau and phosphorylated tau 181 (ptau 181). All the participants had at least one follow-up assessment an average of 3.5 years later.

"The rate of dementia progression was significantly more rapid in individuals with lower baseline Aβ42 levels, higher tau or ptau 181 levels or high tau: Aβ42 ratios," the authors write.

"Although the number of participants in this study was relatively small, the results suggest that CSF biomarkers might be useful as entry criteria for clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies for mild cognitive impairment and very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type," they continue. "Limiting enrollment to individuals with CSF Aβ42 values below a certain cutoff point might ameliorate the difficulties caused by lack of disease progression in some individuals during the trial." For instance, if dementia progresses slowly among all patients in a trial, a larger number of participants would be needed to determine if the treatment was effective over a given time period.

"These findings are likely to have important implications for reducing the number of participants needed to show an effect in clinical trials for very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type and mild cognitive impairment and, ultimately, to assist in making treatment decisions as more invasive and potentially harmful disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease become available," they conclude.

More information: Arch Neurol. 2009;66[5]:638-645

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein

January 18, 2018
For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases ...

Fragile X finding shows normal neurons that interact poorly

January 18, 2018
Neurons in mice afflicted with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) appear similar to those in healthy mice, but these neurons fail to interact normally, resulting in the long-known cognitive impairments, ...

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

Recording a thought's fleeting trip through the brain

January 17, 2018
University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.