Volume 554 Number 7691


Restore justice in Turkey p.145

Hundreds of academics and scientists are caught up in political crackdowns in the wake of petitions for peace.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01677-z


News Features

News & Views

Wood made denser and stronger p.172

An improved method for compressing wood substantially increases its strength and stiffness, opening up the possibility of applications in engineering for which natural wood is too weak.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01371-0

Many mutations in one clinical-trial basket p.173

When abnormality in a gene is linked to cancer and a drug targets the encoded protein, how can the patients who will respond to the drug be identified if the gene is mutated in many different ways in many different cancers?

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01312-x

Fossil-fuel subsidies assessed p.175

Many governments subsidize the production and consumption of fossil fuels. Contrary to expectation, a study finds that removing these subsidies would only modestly reduce global carbon dioxide emissions.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01495-3

A chirp, a roar and a whisper p.178

In 2017, gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation were detected from the merger of two stellar remnants called neutron stars. An observational analysis reveals how this radiation was released from the merger.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01570-9

Solitons divide and conquer p.179

An experimental technique allows packets of light called solitons to maintain their shape in all three dimensions as they travel through a material. Such wave packets could find applications in optical information processing.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-01470-y

Smoking gun for a rare mutation mechanism p.180

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick proposed that rarely formed isomers of DNA bases cause spontaneous mutations to occur during the copying of DNA. Sixty-five years later, it looks as though they were right.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-00418-6



Evolutionary history of the angiosperm flora of China p.234

A dated phylogeny and spatial distribution data for Chinese angiosperms show that eastern China has tended to act as a refugium for older taxa whereas western China has acted as a centre for their evolutionary diversification.

doi: 10.1038/nature25485

High performance plasma amyloid-β biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease p.249

To facilitate clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, which are expected to be most efficacious at the earliest and mildest stages of the disease, supportive biomarker information is necessary. The only validated methods for identifying amyloid-β deposition in the brain—the earliest pathological signature of Alzheimer’s disease—are amyloid-β positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging or measurement of amyloid-β in cerebrospinal fluid. Therefore, a minimally invasive, cost-effective blood-based biomarker is desirable. Despite much effort, to our knowledge, no study has validated the clinical utility of blood-based amyloid-β markers. Here we demonstrate the measurement of high-performance plasma amyloid-β biomarkers by immunoprecipitation coupled with mass spectrometry. The ability of amyloid-β precursor protein (APP)669–711/amyloid-β (Aβ)1–42 and Aβ1–40/Aβ1–42 ratios, and their composites, to predict individual brain amyloid-β-positive or -negative status was determined by amyloid-β-PET imaging and tested using two independent data sets: a discovery data set (Japan, n = 121) and a validation data set (Australia, n = 252 including 111 individuals diagnosed using 11C-labelled Pittsburgh compound-B (PIB)-PET and 141 using other ligands). Both data sets included cognitively normal individuals, individuals with mild cognitive impairment and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. All test biomarkers showed high performance when predicting brain amyloid-β burden. In particular, the composite biomarker showed very high areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs) in both data sets (discovery, 96.7%, n = 121 and validation, 94.1%, n = 111) with an accuracy approximately equal to 90% when using PIB-PET as a standard of truth. Furthermore, test biomarkers were correlated with amyloid-β-PET burden and levels of Aβ1–42 in cerebrospinal fluid. These results demonstrate the potential clinical utility of plasma biomarkers in predicting brain amyloid-β burden at an individual level. These plasma biomarkers also have cost–benefit and scalability advantages over current techniques, potentially enabling broader clinical access and efficient population screening.

doi: 10.1038/nature25456