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A new way to detect early Alzheimer’s disease

Amy Norton Health Day Reporter

Certain changes in some of the brainstem visible on the scan may be potential early indicators Alzheimer’s disease Illness, new research suggests.

Using a variety of brain imaging techniques, researchers found that poor “integrity” of the brainstem region was associated with a faster decline in memory and thinking in the elderly, and certain early brain changes. I found that I was doing Alzheimer’s disease..

Study-Published in the journal on September 22 Scientific translation medicine -This is the latest in a wide range of efforts to find previously useful “biomarkers”. Alzheimer’s disease diagnose.

Biomarkers can be measured to ensure the detection of disease. For example, substances in the blood or the results of brain scans.

Most people now Alzheimer’s disease Rebecca Edelmeier, senior director of scientific involvement at the Alzheimer’s Association, said the diagnosis was based on an assessment of their memory, reasoning and other thinking skills.

However, she said, researchers are working to better understand the underlying disease process and, in the process, find biomarkers that will detect Alzheimer’s disease faster.

Potentially, there are many ways to do this-such as imaging the brain or measuring certain substances in the cerebrospinal fluid or blood. Some of these tools have already been studied and are sometimes used in patient care.

Edelmeier, who was not involved in the new research, called it “very interesting.”

It highlights potential early markers that can help distinguish the “normal” brain aging From the process of illness, she said.

This study focused on a brainstem region known as the locus coeruleus (LC). Previous studies of brain autopsy have shown that LC is the first site in the brain to experience an abnormal accumulation of tau.

Tau is a protein found in healthy brain cells. However, abnormal versions of tau (those that cling to other tau proteins) can also form. In people with Alzheimer’s disease, the brain is filled with tau “entanglements” and “amyloid plaques,” an abnormal mass of another protein called amyloid.

Unlike the amyloid buildup seen in later years, tau buildup often begins early. In fact, studies show that about half of people between the ages of 30 and 40 accumulate tau in LC, says research lead investigator Heidi Jacobs.

However, it is unclear whether it is actually part of the disease process, explained Jacobs, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

According to her, the new discovery supports the claim that it is a fact.

The results are based on 174 older adults, mostly cognitively healthy adults.Everything had MRI Scan to measure the “integrity” of the LC. Jacobs explained that due to its small size, it is not possible to measure tau directly with LC.But recent progress MRI The technology makes it possible to measure the integrity of areas that may reflect the accumulation of tau.

In addition to these MRI scans, participants also underwent PET imaging. The purpose there was to find the accumulation of tau and amyloid in other areas of the brain involved in the process of early Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, their memory and other thinking abilities have been repeatedly tested for up to eight years.

Combining all that information, researchers discovered that the painting emerged.

Overall, reduced LC integrity was associated with tau accumulation in a memory-related brain region called the entorhinal cortex. Decreased LC integrity was also associated with a rapid decline in the thinking skills of study participants.

According to Jacobs, it does not prove that the accumulation of tau in LC initiates the entire process. However, LC integrity has been identified as a potential marker for predicting the decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it is considered important to have an early marker to ensure that people are on track to the disease. One is to use markers to identify participants. Clinical trial Test new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Jacobs, this can already be done with PET imaging, but LC integrity may help identify potential research participants early.

One of the reasons past treatment trials failed, Jacobs said, may be that people were being treated “too late.”

Many may have heard of the amyloid plaques that indicate Alzheimer’s disease, but Edelmeier said that it is actually the accumulation of tau that is more closely associated with cognitive decline. Said. And it is believed that interactions between proteins and other factors may be at work.

“There is actually a series of events that occur 10 to 20 years before the clinical manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease,” Edelmayer said.

She said that technology that could reliably detect changes along that path could lead to early diagnosis.

For more information

The Alzheimer’s Association is making more progress towards an earlier stage Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease..

Source: Dr. Heidi Jacobs, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Imaging Center, Boston. Rebecca Edelmayer, PhD, Senior Director, Scientific Involvement, Alzheimer’s Association, Chicago; Scientific translation medicine, Online, September 22, 2021

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A new way to detect early Alzheimer’s disease

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