Alzheimer's Disease, Diagnosis and the Need for Biomarkers.
Hooper C., Lovestone S., Sainz-Fuertes R.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of aging that presents with memory loss, disorientation, confusion and a reduction in cognitive ability. Although a definite diagnosis of the disorder can only be made post-mortem by histopathological analysis, a number of methods are currently available for the in vivo assessment of AD including psycho-metric tests and neuro-imaging. However, these clinical assessments are relatively nonspecific and imaging is very costly. Genetic testing can be performed if familial AD is suspected, although such cases represent a very small minority of total AD cases. Apolipoprotein E genotype provides a measure for analysing the risk of developing AD, but does not act as an absolute predictive biomarker for AD. Therefore there is a need for an accurate, universal, specific and cost-effective biomarker to facilitate not only ante-mortem diagnosis of AD, but also to allow progression of the disease and response to therapy to be monitored. This is the ultimate goal that our group is pursuing through the pan-European AddNeuroMed project.