At this point it could be too late to start medication, because the disease is now believed to begin decades before a patient displays clear symptoms. So how can we identify the patients who do not yet have Alzheimer’s, but who are at high risk of developing the disease?
Associate Professor Oskar Hansson, linked to Lund University and Skåne University Hospital in Sweden, has identified two such risk markers. He has tested these on individuals who sought treatment at the hospital’s memory clinic and who displayed ‘mild cognitive impairment’ – poorer memory than normal for their age.
Of the 160 subjects tested, 33 per cent developed Alzheimer’s disease within five years. Sixteen per cent developed other forms of dementia, while the remaining half stayed at the level of ‘mild forgetfulness’. The risk markers made a quite clear distinction between those who would later suffer from Alzheimer’s and those who were not at risk.
“The ‘positive connection’ was 71 per cent, which is not sufficient to definitely predict who will get the disease. The ‘negative connection’, on the other hand, was 94 per cent, which means that it is possible to predict who in all likelihood will not get the disease”, says Oskar Hansson.
Those who do not have the risk markers are therefore not at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, despite having a poor memory. They can be given this reassuring news and do not have to return for regular Alzheimer’s checks.
Individuals who do not have the risk markers can also be removed from all future clinical studies of new Alzheimer’s drugs.
“The studies are simpler and more correct if they are done on the right patient group from the beginning, i.e. those who really are in the risk zone for Alzheimer’s disease. It is also more ethical not to include patients who are not at risk. They have nothing to gain from the medication, but may have something to lose if the drug causes side-effects”, says Oskar Hansson.
The biomarkers are extracted from spinal fluid through a needle inserted into the lower spine. This is not the same as a bone marrow test, which is a much more extensive and unpleasant procedure.
Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is increasing rapidly all over the world. In Sweden there are currently around 120 000 people with the disease, but the number is expected to increase in line with the ageing population. Because patients require a lot of care, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are estimated to cost society as much as cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke combined.
Oskar Hansson’s study has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's disease and can be found at http://iospress.metapress.com (enter researcher’s full name in search field).
Oskar Hansson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +46 (0)46 176972 or +46 (0)704 417809.
Pressofficer: Ingela Bjröck; +46-46222 7646; ingela.björck@rektor.lu.se
Ingela Björck | idw
Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications
Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine