Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Study on detecting Alzheimer's biomarker

Part of news released this afternoon by National Institute on Aging: "The search for new measures, or "biomarkers," to detect Alzheimer's disease (AD) before signs of memory loss appear has advanced an important step in a study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and the University of Pittsburgh. The researchers combined high-tech brain imaging with measurement of beta-amyloid protein fragments in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). They found that greater amounts of beta-amyloid containing plaques in the brain were associated with lower levels of a specific protein fragment, amyloid-beta 1-42, in CSF. Prior research indicates that amyloid-beta 1-42 is central to AD development. The fragment is a major component of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are believed to influence cell-to-cell communication and are considered a hallmark of the Alzheimer's brain. The study, published online December 21, 2005, by the "Annals of Neurology", is the first to examine the relationship between levels of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain and different forms of beta-amyloid in CSF in living humans." (Contact : Susan Farrer or Vicky Cahan, 301-496-1752 at NIA for more details.)

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