April 29, 2019 – Changing Definition


Anchor lead: Can a new method for assessing early Alzheimer’s point the way to more effective therapies? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Removing amyloid from the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease didn’t change disease progression, the latest disappointing study found. Now research by Gwenn Smith, a brain imaging expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, may point the way to using signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters as markers to target.

Smith: Serotonin for example is a significant predictor. The loss of serotonin as memory, not only memory performance at a single time but also change, that is really the closest we can do in the living brain, is study these individuals with mild memory problems or even individuals at risk. So even individuals who have memory complaints, it seems there are certain pathological changes that accompany memory complaints, even before people have really demonstrable evidence of memory impairment.  :27

Smith notes that many experts believe identifying and intervening earlier in the Alzheimer’s disease process are key. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.