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Mayo Clinic Study Continues to Refine Most Effective Methods to Predict Alzheimer's Disease
Date:7/14/2009

ROCHESTER, Minn., July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Mayo Clinic study found that the clinical criteria for mild cognitive impairment is better at predicting who will develop Alzheimer's disease than a single memory test. This is one more piece of information to aid in the identification and early treatment of individuals most likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. This study will be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease on July 14 in Vienna.

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain in which nerve cells die over time, resulting in a steady loss of memory and other thinking abilities. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Mild cognitive impairment is a transitional state between normal aging and the earliest features of Alzheimer's disease.

"The goal of this research is to try to predict who is going to develop Alzheimer's disease in the future," says Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic and the lead author of this study. "Ideally, we'd like to identify individuals before any damage is done in the brain. The sooner we intervene on this process with medications or other therapies, the greater impact we can have on lessening the number of people who will ultimately develop Alzheimer's disease."

Dr. Petersen and his team studied 1,261 individuals aged 70-89 years who were cognitively normal or had only slight memory impairment at the onset of the study. The individuals were followed for up to 10 years. Scores on a memory test and the clinical criteria
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