New Alzheimer’s Studies May Hold Hope But No Cure

According to USA Today two new studies add to scientific efforts to find more accurate ways to determine whether a person’s brain is on a path toward Alzheimer’s disease.

In the first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), older people without dementia whose blood showed lower levels of beta-amyloid 42/40 (proteins) had an increased rate of cognitive decline over nine years. The study found that participants with less education and lower levels of literacy had a stronger association with these biomarker levels. The study involved close to 1,000 participants with an average age of 74.ξ

The second study, also in JAMA, suggests that a certain type of brain imaging procedure may help detect beta-amyloid in living patients. Researchers used the chemical florbetapir F 18, which binds with beta-amyloid, in conjunction with PET imaging. The images were later compared with the quantity of beta-amyloid in the brain. Beta-amyloid presence can be an indicator for Alzheimer’s.

Researchers concluded that “Many conditions can mimic Alzheimer’s äóî thyroid, vitamin deficiencies, depression, rarer dementias. Knowing someone doesn’t have amyloid in the brain can help a clinician focus on those other conditions. Adding, “There’s still a lot of difficulty in making that connection between an imaging result or a clinical number and the state of the disease.”