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Medical News & Perspectives |

Researchers Test Strategies to Prevent Alzheimer Disease

M. J. Friedrich
JAMA. 2014;311(16):1596-1598. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3891.
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A decade of disappointing clinical trial results for Alzheimer disease (AD)-modifying therapies in people suggests that treatment should be targeted at earlier stages in the disease—even before overt symptoms arise.

Profound brain alterations—such as accumulation of the protein fragment called beta-amyloid—are found 10 to 20 years before dementia or even mild cognitive impairment is diagnosed. Alzheimer disease investigators estimate that by the time memory begins to erode and other cognitive problems emerge, too much damage has occurred in the brain to be reversed by the experimental treatments.

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Positron emission tomography (PET) amyloid imaging has been associated with the presence and density of beta-amyloid at autopsy (JAMA. 2011;305[3]:275-283). Researchers in the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s (A4) trial are using PET imaging to help identify individuals at risk for Alzheimer disease to test amyloid-modifying therapy.

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