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Markers in Blood and Spinal Fluid, and a New Imaging Agent, Show Promise for Early Detection of Alzheimer's
Date:7/29/2008

he brain, regardless of the person's cognitive status," Fagan said. "Our analyses also suggest that a decline in CSF AB42 may effectively identify non-demented individuals who are in the preclinical stage of Alzheimer's, even before they are PIB positive."

Brain Enzyme May Improve Alzheimer's Risk Assessment and Early Detection

Researchers have previously found elevated B-secretase (BACE1) activity in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's compared to healthy individuals. BACE1 is one of two enzymes involved in the pathological processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and the production of toxic AB (beta amyloid, the main constituent of amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's).

Professor Harald Hampel, of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and the University of Munich, Germany, Professor Yong Shen, of Sun Health Research Institute, USA, and colleagues investigated whether BACE1 assessed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be a feasible biomarker candidate for predicting Alzheimer's in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a transition stage between the cognitive changes of normal aging and the more serious problems caused by Alzheimer's.

The research had two parts. In the first part, the scientists measured BACE1 levels in CSF in 80 people with Alzheimer's, 59 people with MCI, and 69 healthy elderly controls (HC) at two independent, international research centers. MCI subjects showed highly increased levels of BACE1 activity when compared to HC and people with Alzheimer's. BACE1 activity was significantly correlated with AB level. A subsequent validation study replicated these initial findings in a new and independent set of 41 people with Alzheimer's, 46 with amnestic MCI and elderly HC.

In the second part, 47 MCI subjects were clinically followed up over two years to assess the predictive value of BACE1 in combination with other biomarker candidates for predicting the conversion from MCI to Alzheime
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Association
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