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Penn Medicine pathologists pioneer biomarker test to diagnose or rule out Alzheimer's disease
Date:3/16/2009

biomarkers, as well as identify more genetic risk factors that will help distinguish Alzheimer's from other neurodegenerative diseases characterized by cognitive impairments.

"Thanks to the dedicated researchers and volunteers who participated in this and other Alzheimer's disease studies through the Penn Alzheimer's Disease Core Center and at ADNI trial sites around the US and Canada, we have validated a test where a safe, simple lumbar puncture can provide information to confirm suspected Alzheimer's disease and predict the onset of the disease," said John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Director of the Penn Alzheimer's Disease Core Center. "Using this technique, we will further our understanding of how the disease progresses and what we can do to stop Alzheimer's disease before it starts."

About the Study

Cerebral spinal fluid samples contributed by 410 ADNI volunteers at 56 sites across the U.S. and Canada were included in this study. To independently establish threshold values for these biomarkers, cerebrospinal fluid samples from 52 Penn Memory Center volunteers with normal cognition and 56 people with confirmed Alzheimer's disease based on post-mortem autopsy diagnosis were also measured. The test was based on the multiplexed xMAP microbead immunoassay system, with reagents provided by Innogenetics.

When compared with normal, healthy adults of the same age, a pattern of changes emerged in people with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. In this group, tau concentrations increased, while amyloid beta42 levels decreased as the disease progressed.

  • The test was 87 percent accurate overall (80 percent or above is considered clinically useful).
  • In the CSF samples from those with autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer's disease, the amyloid beta42 concentration threshold was most sensitive and detected Alzheimer's disease at a rate of 96.4 percent.
  • The test accurately ruled out Alzheimer's disease in 9
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Contact: Kim Guenther
kim.guenther@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2312
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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