More Than One


Anchor lead: As drugs are developed for Alzheimer’s disease it seems clear that there is more than one type of this form of dementia, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Even as drugs that clear amyloid, a substance that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, continue being developed and studied, experts are questioning whether amyloid is the causative agent in the disease. Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says multiple causes likely exist, something called ‘heterogeneity.’

Lyketsos: Let’s get serious about deconstructing the heterogeneity that exists around this condition that we call dementia or Alzheimer’s dementia, and start understanding the drivers of dementia. Pretty clear that amyloid itself is not a direct driver of dementia. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s presence forecasts that you might get dementia but the amount of amyloid and the amount of dementia never have been well correlated. So my idea is the deconstruction of the heterogeneity.  :31

Lyketsos says most or even all diseases are highly individual, so a single agent to treat them is unlikely. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.