People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can now be identified before any symptoms emerge, according to new research by Lund University in Sweden.
The findings, published in Nature Medicine, were the result of a large international study involving more than 1,300 participants from countries such as Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States.
In the study, the participants recruited initially did not report any cognitive impairment. Two proteins widely believed to be implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease were of focus of the research.
Brain imaging scans were used to visually examine the presence of those two proteins: tau and beta-amyloid.
“In this large multicenter amyloid and tau positron emission tomography study, we examined the risk for future progression to mild cognitive impairment and the rate of cognitive decline over time among cognitively unimpaired individuals who were amyloid PET-positive (A+) and tau PET-positive (T+) in the medial temporal lobe (A+TMTL+) and/or in the temporal neocortex (A+TNEO-T+) and compared them with A+T− and A−T− groups,” the authors explained in their report.
“In summary, evidence of advanced Alzheimer’s disease pathological changes provided by a combination of abnormal amyloid and tau PET examinations is strongly associated with short-term (that is, 3–5 years) cognitive decline in cognitively unimpaired individuals and is therefore of high clinical relevance.”
The study was published on November 10, 2022.