As theorized in the journal JAMA Neurology, increased levels of the amyloid protein might be correlated with the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a team of researchers found.
The findings were part of the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer disease (A4) Study, an ongoing prevention trial with a primary objective of probing normal older adults with increased brain amyloid.
According to the study, researchers combed through the screening data of more than 4,400 older adult participants, aged 65 to 85, between April 2014 to December 2017.
Throughout the study, they examined increased amyloid along with any lifestyle factors, apolipoprotein E (APOE), neuropsychological tests, and data of cognitive function. Amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) was used to screen the participants.
“Amyloid PET results were acquired for 4,486 participants, with 1,323 classified as Aβ+. Aβ+ participants were slightly older than Aβ−, with no observed differences in sex, education, marital or retirement status, or any self-reported lifestyle factors,” the study reads.
“Aβ+ participants were more likely to have a family history of dementia. Aβ+ participants demonstrated worse performance on screening Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite results and reported higher change scores on the Cognitive Function Index.”
Based on their conclusions, researchers theorize that increased amyloid was correlated with lower test results when measuring daily cognitive function and suggested the elevated levels may also be hereditary.
“These results support the hypothesis that elevated amyloid represents an early stage in the Alzheimer continuum and demonstrate the feasibility of enrolling these high-risk participants in secondary prevention trials aimed at slowing cognitive decline during the preclinical stages of AD,” researchers concluded.