Alzheimer’s disease progresses faster in people with Down syndrome (Links to an external site)

Nearly all adults with Down syndrome will develop evidence of Alzheimer’s disease by late middle age. A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that the disease both starts earlier and moves faster in people with Down syndrome, a finding that may have important implications for the treatment and care of this vulnerable group of patients.

Moment of promise (Links to an external site)

Washington University is known the world over for being a leader in neuroscience research. And the university underscored its commitment to the neurosciences by building an 11-story hub on the Medical Campus that enables researchers to work more collaboratively and creatively. The goal: to accelerate the translation of science into treatments to help those living with neurodegenerative diseases.

Alzheimer’s blood test performs as well as FDA-approved spinal fluid tests (Links to an external site)

Scientists report a major step toward a simple blood test for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Lund University in Sweden showed that a blood test is as good at identifying people in early stages of the disease as cerebrospinal fluid tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The findings indicate that a blood test soon may replace more expensive and invasive brain scans and spinal taps for detecting signs of Alzheimer’s in the brain.

Blood tests can help diagnose Alzheimer’s — if they’re accurate enough. Not all are (Links to an external site)

A new generation of blood tests is poised to change the way doctors determine whether patients with memory loss also have Alzheimer’s disease.

The tests detect substances in the blood that indicate the presence of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. So these tests have the potential to replace current diagnostic procedures, like costly PET scans and uncomfortable spinal taps.

Doubts abound about a new Alzheimer’s blood test (Links to an external site)

…Alzheimer’s researchers and clinicians aren’t convinced the Quest test is backed by sound scientific research. The possibility of false-positive results is high, as is the likelihood that older adults won’t understand the significance of their results, they say. The test should be taken only under a physician’s supervision, if at all, they advise. And, priced originally at $399 (recently discounted to $299) and not covered by insurance, it isn’t cheap.

When Gut Bacteria May Be an Early Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease (Links to an external site)

In a new study published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis report on another possible factor: the types of bacteria living in the gut. Experiencing changes in gut bacteria populations may be an early marker for developing the disease, the scientists found. These differences can often begin years before the first symptoms of cognitive decline, such as memory loss and confusion, appear.

ANA Investigates: A Podcast Series (Links to an external site)

On today’s show, we’ll focus on the future of biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease. We know that amyloid beta and tau protein deposit long before patients with Alzheimer’s develop symptoms. If we could use biomarkers to detect this pathology early, and treat patients early, could we prevent the progression to dementia?

Blood tests could help screen anticipated flood of patients seeking new Alzheimer’s drug (Links to an external site)

When the U.S. government approved the Alzheimer’s disease drug aducanumab last month despite shaky evidence of clinical benefits, Suzanne Schindler saw an immediate consequence: “We’re going to have to do a lot more biomarker testing.” Schindler, a neurologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, expects many patients with memory problems will […]