Research highlight

Finding patients on the road to cognitive decline

Nature Medicine

March 10, 2014

A blood profile, using ten metabolites, that can determine with 90% certainty whether a cognitively healthy elderly person will develop dementia symptoms in the next two to three years, is reported in a study published this week in Nature Medicine.

The challenge Alzheimer’s disease (AD) treatment is identifying aging individuals that are currently cognitively normal-but who may be more prone to develop dementia-before dementia onset, so that preventive therapy can be administered in a timely fashion.

Howard Federoff and colleagues found a biomarker panel of ten metabolites that are components of the cell membrane or their derivatives. This panel of biomarkers could represent early degenerative changes in neurons within the brain prior to dementia onset. As treatments aimed at individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are thought to be more likely to work if given at early stages of the disease, the findings could help with patient selection for clinical trials in dementia.

doi: 10.1038/nm.3466

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