Clues to Alzheimer's May Reside in Spinal
WEDNESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- The spinal fluid of
people with mild memory problems may help identify those who will
later develop Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.
In the study, researchers collected samples of cerebrospinal
fluid from 58 people with mild memory (cognitive) impairment and
analyzed the samples for concentrations of several proteins
associated with Alzheimer's disease. After an average follow-up of
three years, 21 people had developed Alzheimer's, 27 still had mild
cognitive impairment, and 8 had reverted back to their normal
Two of the participants developed a type of dementia other than
Alzheimer's and weren't included in the final results.
The spinal fluid of people who developed Alzheimer's disease had
significantly higher levels of a protein called soluble amyloid
precursor protein beta (sAPPβ) than the spinal fluid of those who
didn't develop the brain disorder -- an average of 1,200 versus 932
nanograms per milliliter.
Predicting participants' risk of Alzheimer's was 80 percent
accurate when three factors were combined -- sAPPβ, a person's age,
and a known marker of brain cell damage called tau protein.
A protein called amyloid beta1-42 (Aβ1-42), previously
considered a so-called "biomarker" for Alzheimer's, was not a
predictive factor, according to the German researchers.
The study is published in the June 22 online edition of the
Neurology. As many as 15 percent of people with mild memory problems develop Alzheimer's disease each year, the researchers said.
"These results suggest that sAPPβ as a biomarker [indicator] may be useful and superior to the established marker Aβ1-42 in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease," study author Dr. Robert Perneczky, of the Technical University Munich, said in a journal news release.
"One possible explanation is that Aβ1-42 measures events further downstream from the initial steps that lead to the production of the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease," he explained.
Perneczky said that sAPPβ is a measure of the first critical
step in the development of Alzheimer's and may "provide more
accurate information on the core pathological events."
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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