Biomarkers for Inherited Alzheimer's Disease May Predict Symptom Onset

About 1% of the Alzheimer's disease population is infected by the genetic form of the illness, but biomarkers in the brain may be able to predict when patients' symptoms begin.

Alzheimer’s disease’s (AD’s) progression may slow down once symptoms appear, according to a study focused on the inherited form of the illness published in Science Translational Medicine.

By investigating families with the autosomal-dominant AD (ADAD) gene and mutations, researchers observed Alzheimer’s disease in its asymptomatic or “preclinical” stages. Scientists collected cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), plasma, and in vivo amyloid imaging cross-sectional baseline data from ADAD individuals from families enrolled in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network.

“As part of this research we have observed other changes in the brain that occur when symptoms begin to appear. There is actually a slowing of the neurodegeneration,” Colin Masters, MD, from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and University of Melbourne in Australia said in a press release. The findings revealed markers of estimated age at symptom onset (EAO) were present in mutation carriers 10 to 20 years ahead patient’s estimated EAO.

However, when compared over time, the biomarkers within individuals decreased after their EAO, which suggested to the scientists a slowing of acute neurodegenerative processes with symptomatic disease progression.

While only about 1% of AD patients have the inheritable form of the disease, researchers hope that information learned from the group will influence the treatment offered to others. The study will move into clinical trial spanning individuals from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.