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Combination of available tests helps predict Alzheimer's disease risk
Date:10/20/2011

ed biomarkers, MRI, CSF and neuropsychological tests are all technologies widely available to clinicians.

The researchers found that these available biomarkers significantly improved accuracy in predicting near-term conversion to dementia. In combination, their prediction rate was almost perfect: None of the individuals who tested negative on all three measures went on to develop AD in the three-year follow-up. By comparison, almost 90 percent of individuals who tested positive on all three measures were demented at the end of three years.

The presence of medial temporal atrophy, determined by automated analysis of MRI using an FDA-approved software package, was associated with the likeliest chance of near-term dementia, with a median dementia-free survival time of only 15 months.

Brewer said the findings foretell a paradigm shift in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

"Instead of saying, 'Let's wait a year and see if this gets worse,' our neurologists can say, 'Let's get a volumetric MRI and check back in a month to see if your complaint is due to neurodegeneration.' That ability makes a huge difference in how we proceed. Maybe the memory complaint isn't due to neurodegeneration, but rather it's a side effect of a medication, a sign of depression or someone is simply anxious and worried. Being able to reassure at least some patients that they are not at significant near-term risk of AD is something we never could do in the past, given the high prevalence of the disease."


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Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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