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Biomarker may predict Alzheimer's disease progression

A biomarker has shown great promise in predicting brain atrophy in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

According to John DeBernardis, President and CEO of Applied NeuroSolutions and a co-author of the study, " Finding a biomarker that effectively predicts who will get Alzheimer's disease has been considered the Holy Grail of Alzheimer's research for many years. We now believe that variations in the levels of p-tau 231 ( tau protein phosphorylated on amino acid 231 ) may be used to effectively predict structural progression of Alzheimer's disease."

Harald Hampel, of the Alzheimer Memorial Center and Geriatric Psychiatric Branch of the Department of Psychiatry at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany was the lead investigator of the study. The data in the study agree with the notion that variations in p-tau 231 levels reflect differences in the degree of neuronal damage across AD patients, thus, p-tau 231 levels may be used to predict progression of brain atrophy in AD patients.

In the study of 22 Alzheimer's disease patients, all underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI ) to image the brain and had CSF samples taken.
Levels of p-tau 231 predicted the rate of subsequent hippocampal atrophy as measured by MRI. In contrast, levels of total tau, another biomarker also used in the study, did not.
In the end, higher p-tau 231 levels were found to correspond with higher rates of neuronal degeneration of the hippocampus.

In numerous other studies, the p-tau 231 assay developed by Applied NeuroSolutions has been shown to discriminate Alzheimer's disease patients from patients with other neurodegenerative disorders.

Currently there is no FDA-approved diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease.

Source: Archives of Neurology, 2005