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Cerebrospinal Fluid May Help Pinpoint Alzheimer’s Cases

Last Updated: May 14, 2009.

Levels of the cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers Aβ peptide 1-42, tau, and phosphorylated tau may help predict which patients with very mild, Alzheimer-type dementia may progress more rapidly to cognitive deficits and dementia, according to a study published in the May issue of the Archives of Neurology.

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of the cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers Aβ peptide 1-42 (Aβ42), tau, and phosphorylated tau may help predict which patients with very mild Alzheimer-type dementia may progress more rapidly to cognitive deficits and dementia, according to a study published in the May issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Barbara J. Snider, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and colleagues analyzed clinical data on 49 patients with a diagnosis of very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type who underwent lumbar puncture and were followed up for at least one year afterwards.

Patients with lower baseline cerebrospinal fluid Aβ42 levels, higher tau or higher phosphorylated tau at threonine 181 levels, or high tau:Aβ42 ratios had a significantly faster progression to dementia, the researchers found. The study findings differed from those of earlier studies because they showed that biomarker levels are strongly predictive of the rate of decline, the investigators noted.

"These findings are likely to have important implications for reducing the number of participants needed to show an effect in clinical trials for very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type and mild cognitive impairment and, ultimately, to assist in making treatment decisions as more invasive and potentially harmful disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer disease become available," the authors write.

Eli Lilly contributed antibodies to Aβ40.

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