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Advances in Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease

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Researchers are making strides toward understanding and detecting Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, when interventions may be most effective at slowing the progress of the disease. The findings were presented on Sunday, November 12 at Neuroscience 2023, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder predicted to affect 8.5 million people by 2030. Individuals with AD may experience mild cognitive impairment and the accumulation of abnormal proteins in their brains for years before the onset of dementia. Early detection is important for effective intervention, but existing diagnostic methods can be subjective, expensive, or invasive. Understanding the biological and cognitive changes associated with early AD is necessary for early detection, monitoring, and treatment of this disease.

New findings show that:

  • A blood-based test identified detectable blood proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (Yuanbing “Jason” Jiang, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).
  • Men have faster accumulation of protein biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and more rapid declines in cognition and brain volume than women after the onset of amyloid plaque accumulation (Keenan Walker, National Institute on Aging).
  • A blood-based test effectively detects early Alzheimer’s disease across ethnic groups with high accuracy (Li “Joyce” Ouyang, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).

“Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease is key for the efficacy of current interventions as well as for evaluating the effectiveness of new therapies,” said Virginia Lee, Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania. “The research advances presented today may lead to future diagnostics to help in prognosis, measure disease progression, and evaluate therapies.”

This research was supported by national funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health and private funding organisations.

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