July 8, 2014 – Dementia Assessment
Anchor lead: Researchers are zeroing in on stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Alzheimer’s disease has usually been diagnosed on the basis of clinical questionnaires, but now more measureable data exists. Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s expert at Johns Hopkins, says the majority of these tests are still in research mode, and more than one type of test should be used to determine which stage of the disease someone may be in.
Lyketsos: It will require more than two specific indicators that we call biomarkers to decide where someone would fall on a staging path. So a lot of the activity you’re seeing now is trying to decide which are the better markers for individual elements of the stage, for example, we can measure tau amount in the brain directly through PET scans, we actually can measure tau indirectly in the brain by analyzing cerebrospinal fluid. That’s been around for awhile and is pretty accurate. The same idea exists for all the other stages. :31
Lyketsos says such staging will likely only need to be done once in order to predict disease course. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.