Alzheimer's recognizable decades before the outbreak

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Alzheimer's diagnosis: disease recognizable years before the onset

With the help of a new diagnostic procedure, Alzheimer's can be identified years before the actual onset of the disease. After US scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago reported in April 2011 (see specialist journal "Neurology") that Alzheimer's was theoretically recognizable years before the onset of the disease, researchers at the university Leipzig is now developing a diagnostic procedure that should enable the disease to be diagnosed early.

With the help of the new method for Alzheimer's diagnosis, the neurodegenerative disease can be detected up to 15 years before the actual onset of the disease, reports the research team led by study leader Osama Sabri from Leipzig University Hospital. As part of an international study, the scientists tested a diagnostic method that enables the detection of the Alzheimer-causing protein beta-amyloid. Since beta-amyloid has been deposited in certain brain regions for years before the onset of the onset of the disease, the new diagnostic method can be used to detect an impending Alzheimer's disease long before the onset of the disease, according to the Leipzig researchers.

Alzheimer's early detection based on the protein beta-amyloid The early diagnosis of Alzheimer's could improve significantly in future with the help of the new diagnostic method, so the hope of the scientists around Osama Sabri, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Leipzig. By injecting a weakly radioactive marker called florbetaben, the scientists were able to detect the beta-amyloid protein that causes Alzheimer's disease in the positron emission tomograph (PET). The marker substance was injected into the arm of the test subjects and migrated from there to the brain, where it increasingly accumulated in the protein beta-amyloid and thus made this visible on the images of the PET. The most common form of dementia can thus be identified years before the actual outbreak of Alzheimer's, explained study leader Osama Sabri. According to the director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Nuclear Medicine, the "findings of the study mean a major improvement in Alzheimer's diagnosis".

Alzheimer's disease recognizable up to 15 years before the onset of the disease The researchers in Leipzig explained that the possibility of detecting the beta-amyloid protein in the brain would make it possible to detect Alzheimer's disease around ten to 15 years before the actual onset of the disease. According to Henryk Barthel from the University of Leipzig, who was also involved in the study, this would be "a real revolution in Alzheimer's diagnosis". Because the previous tests do not offer the possibility of such an early diagnosis of Alzheimer's and are also extremely imprecise - according to the experts, up to a third of the diseases are misdiagnosed. For those affected, however, early diagnosis with promptly initiated treatment can save several years in which they can remain suitable for everyday use for longer.

Doubling of Alzheimer's Diseases by 2050 Alzheimer's has not yet been curable, but the various treatment methods can significantly delay the course of the disease. In addition, the development of a new diagnostic method against the background of demographic development in the industrialized nations is of particular importance. According to the experts, the number of Alzheimer's and dementia diseases will increase massively in the coming years. According to the German Alzheimer's Society, around 1.2 million people in Germany already suffer from dementia, with two thirds of the patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. In the coming years, the situation is likely to continue to worsen dramatically, because the forecasts of the German Alzheimer's Society assume that Alzheimer's patients will double by 2050. The new diagnostic procedure could significantly improve the basics of future Alzheimer's treatment. (fp)

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