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Early Detection Push from New Alzheimer's Disease Discussion Group Points to Advances by Startup Companies, Including Louisville-Based Neuronetrix, Inc.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent discussions about screening for Alzheimer's disease have begun to stimulate interest in advanced diagnostic technologies. A new advisory group, called AD Screening Discussion Group, has recommended screening for Alzheimer's as patients become eligible for Medicare. The COGNISION(TM) System being developed by Neuronetrix, Inc. is a new Alzheimer's screening technology which will be entering clinical trials in Q1 2008. The COGNISION(TM) System uses proprietary pattern recognition algorithms to classify the patient's brainwave responses based on similarities to known neurological disease profiles. The test is non- invasive, inexpensive, and can be performed in a doctor's office.

Neuronetrix, based in Louisville, KY, will revolutionize the treatment of patients with neurologic disorders by providing meaningful screening information to physicians early in the disease process. Its patent-pending COGNISION(TM) System will "for the first time, directly detect the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer's disease," according to K.C. Fadem, inventor of the COGNISION(TM) System.

Alzheimer's is a chronic neurodegenerative disease which afflicts roughly 5 million individuals in the United States. Traditionally, a diagnosis is only made once significant symptoms are present, often 2-4 years into the symptomatic phase of the disease.

"Routine screening is not currently a reality, but it is now appropriate to allow for this, based on the burgeoning senior population in our country and the immense cost to society," according to Dr. Paul R. Solomon, Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Williams College; and a member of the AD Screening Discussion Group.

Currently Alzheimer's patients incur direct Medicare/Medicaid costs of more than $50 billion per year, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Mike Reid, CEO of Neuronetrix, indicated that a conservative 5% penetration rate for COGNISION(TM) screening would represent almost $7 billion per year in Americans' cost savings for Alzheimer's care. These savings would be realized by delaying the point at which Alzheimer's sufferers would have to be placed in a long-term care facility. This delay will be due to earlier treatment with current Alzheimer's drugs such as Aricept(R) from Pfizer, Inc. and through treatment with potentially more effective drugs on the near term horizon.

The AD Screening Discussion Group is comprised of a multi-disciplinary panel of experts convened by Eisai Inc., and Pfizer, Inc., to debate the value of screening and early detection for Alzheimer's disease.

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SOURCE Neuronetrix, Inc.
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