New study identifies best tests for predicting Alzheimer's disease

June 30, 2010, American Academy of Neurology

New research has identified the memory and brain scan tests that appear to predict best whether a person with cognitive problems might develop Alzheimer's disease. The research is published in the June 30, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Memory and brain scan tests were performed on 85 people with (MCI) who were part of a larger study called the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The tests included an episodic , in which a participant must correctly recall a list of words. Blood tests were given to measure which form of the APOE gene people had, since one form of the gene is associated with Alzheimer's disease.

MRI were also used to measure the size of a participant's hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Proteins thought to play a role in Alzheimer's disease, called tau or beta-amyloid, were also measured. Finally, a PET brain scan was taken to detect in the brain that might signal Alzheimer's disease.

"Each of these tests have independently shown promise in predicting , however, prior to the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, they had never been compared to one another in the same study before," said study author Susan M. Landau, PhD, with the University of California-Berkeley and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Participants were between the ages of 55 and 90 and were followed for an average of 1.9 years. During that time, 28 of the participants developed Alzheimer's disease.

People who showed abnormal results on both PET scans and episodic tests were nearly 12 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who scored normally on both measures.

"Because people with MCI decline at different rates and some never go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, there is a need for tools that can better predict who might benefit most from treatment," said Landau. "When we compared all of the predictors, these two tests most accurately predicted who developed Alzheimer's."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Schizophrenia a side effect of human development

February 21, 2018
Schizophrenia may have evolved as an "unwanted side effect" of the development of the complex human brain, a new study has found.

Cognitive benefits of 'young blood' linked to brain protein in mice

February 21, 2018
Loss of an enzyme that modifies gene activity to promote brain regeneration may be partly responsible for age-related cognitive decline, according to new research in laboratory mice by UC San Francisco scientists, who also ...

Therapeutic antibodies protected nerve–muscle connections in a mouse model of Lou Gehrig's disease

February 20, 2018
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, causes lethal respiratory paralysis within several years of diagnosis. There are no effective treatments to slow or halt this devastating disease. Mouse ...

Brain liquefaction after stroke is toxic to surviving brain: study

February 20, 2018
Scientists have known for years that the brain liquefies after a stroke. If cut off from blood and oxygen for a long enough period, a portion of the brain will die, slowly morphing from a hard, rubbery substance into liquid ...

Every experience that the brain perceives is unique

February 20, 2018
Neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex represents every experience as "novel." The neurons adapt their activity accordingly, even if the new experience is very similar to a previous one. That is the main finding of a ...

Brain aging may begin earlier than expected

February 20, 2018
Physicists have devised a new method of investigating brain function, opening a new frontier in the diagnoses of neurodegenerative and ageing related diseases.

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.