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Health Discoveries in General Health News

Test for early Alzheimers may predict later dementia

December 31, 2009
Using a compound that binds to brain plaques, doctors may be able to determine whether individuals who test positive for early Alzheimer's disease will progress into more serious stages of the disease with dementia.

The December issue of Archives of Neurology explains the findings of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, who assessed 159 older adults for up to five years. They all underwent positron emission tomography (PET) scans using Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), which can detect deposits of brain plaques in living patients.

Preclinical, or early, Alzheimer's "operates for many years before producing a clinically detectable impairment," according to the study's authors. "A key corollary of this concept is that preclinical Alzheimer's disease is not benign and will eventually produce sufficient synaptic and neuronal damage to cause cognitive decline and other symptoms of Alzheimer's disease."

In the study, 23 participants eventually progressed to clinically detectable dementia during follow-up, and nine were diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer type.

At various medical locations throughout the North Shore-LIJ Health System, specialists in geriatrics, psychiatry and neurology work together to treat patients with Alzheimer's. Clinical trials involving Alzheimer's patients at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center, established in the North Shore-LIJ Health System in 2004, focus on the biology of the disease.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19536033-ADNFCR
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