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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Latest Potential for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease Analyzes Spinal Fluid

Other recent claims of success with early detection of Alzheimer’s have used blood test or eye abnormalities in lab rats

March 21, 2014 - Researchers announced this week they are close to being able to diagnose the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease by the detection of tiny, misfolded protein fragments in cerebrospinal fluid taken from patients. Just in a matter of days similar claims for early discovery of the disease has been made by scientists using a blood test and others studying eye abnormalities in lab rats.

Scientists, with hefty financing from drug-makers, government and non-profits, have been burning the midnight oil in efforts to find a means of detecting Alzheimer’s disease at its very early stages, while treatments might have a better chance of working before extensive brain damage and dementia develop. Nothing, however, seems close to clearing all the hurdles necessary to become available for clinical use with humans.

These misfolded protein fragments have been suggested to be the main culprit in Alzheimer's disease, according to the report on this research in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports. The authors point out, too, that scientists used to think amyloid plaques were the problem in Alzheimer's disease.


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Senior Citizens May Soon Have Blood Test to Predict Alzheimer’s Risk with 90% Accuracy

Dr. Howard Federoff, right, led study at Georgetown University Medical Center to discover blood test to predict Alzheimer's disease. See video below.Report in Nature Medicine on discovery in study of seniors over age 70; NPR reports on consequences of knowing – see video in story

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Alzheimer’s Disease May Kill Many More in U.S. Than Currently Reported

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Seniors Expected to Rush to New 15-Minute Test of Cognitive Abilities, Dementia Risk

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Read the latest news on Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health


"Now it seems clear that the aggregates are not the main culprits, it's their precursors," so-called Aβ oligomers, said Claudio Soto of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

"This is the key molecule and could be the best, most reliable way to make an early diagnosis. That's been the biggest problem in the field: you can't identify patients until they are already sick."

"Those Aβ oligomers may be circulating in the body years if not decades before cognitive symptoms arise," Soto added. This speculation set him on the quest to detect them.

Soto and his colleagues applied a technology they developed earlier for detection of the misfolded proteins responsible for prion diseases including mad cow disease. Their protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) technology works by amplifying existing misfolded proteins and then breaking them up into smaller pieces. When mixed with the equivalent, normal protein, the misfolded fragments act as seeds for the formation, in the case of Aβ, of amyloid clumps like those found in the Alzheimer's brain.

The researchers showed that their PMCA technology can detect Aβ oligomers at incredibly low concentrations. In principle, their earlier prion work suggests it might be possible to detect even a single particle of misfolded Aβ.

Most importantly, Soto and his colleagues were able to distinguish between patients with Alzheimer's disease and those with other neurodegenerative or neurological disorders with 90% sensitivity and 92% specificity by applying their test to cerebrospinal fluid samples.

The next step, Soto says, is to adapt the technology for use with blood or urine samples, which would be much easier to obtain for screening perfectly healthy people for biochemical signs of Alzheimer's disease. They will also continue to explore its utility for detecting the disease before symptoms appear.

If additional research can confirm the utility of the test in Alzheimer's and perhaps other conditions (e.g. Parkinson's disease), Soto says an FDA-approved test could be on the market in as little as three years. His team is already involved in commercializing the PCMA technology for application in prion diseases.

Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.

If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.

 Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...

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Vehicles Involved

VW Jetta (2009–2015)

VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)

VW Golf (2010-2015)

VW Golf SportWagen (2015)

VW Beetle (2012–2015)

VW Passat (2012-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

VW Touareg (2009–2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2015)

Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)


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