A new way to predict cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease

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In a recent study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, researchers found a biomarker in the brain that can predict future cognitive decline in patients with the language form of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

They discovered the buildup of tau protein in the brain predicts the amount of future cognitive decline over one year in individuals with AD.

These tau-based biomarkers may help predict the pace of progression of the disease and be important for early detection. They may eventually help treat AD before we see symptoms.

The study is from Northwestern Medicine. One author is Emily Rogalski.

As a growing proportion of Americans age, the prevalence of AD is expected to rise. An estimated 50 million people worldwide and 6 million in the U.S. have AD, with those numbers expected to triple in the next 30 years.

In the study, the participants had Progressive Primary Aphasia (PPA), which is often caused by an early-onset form of AD. In PPA, the parts of the brain that control language and speech degenerate.

The team measured used a newer type of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging that shows the location of toxic tau protein in the brain.

They found the higher the level of the bad form of tau in the brain, the worse a person’s cognitive performance, the study showed.

The more tau protein a person had in a specific region of their brain, the more likely they were to have worse cognition a year later.

The study also found the higher the level of tau, the more atrophy was occurring across the brain.

The study was among the first to show the amount of tau pathology in the brain predicts subsequent cognitive decline over time.

The team says it’s important to show that AD in primary progressive aphasia is similar to the more common late-onset AD that causes memory problems so that participants with PPA can be included in clinical trials and offered all the same opportunities.

The finding of the predictive decline from tau pathology is also applicable to more common forms of AD in which memory loss is the primary symptom.

One theory is that toxic forms of AD accumulate and then trigger events resulting in brain cell degeneration. This research supports this theory.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about this treatment of Alzheimer’s disease shows promising results and findings of this health problem can make Alzheimer’s disease more dangerous.

For more information about Alzheimer’s and your health, please see recent studies about Alzheimer’s disease: obesity may worsen its effects and results showing that if your left and right-brain age differently, you are more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.

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