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NIH-supported study lays groundwork for Alzheimer’s clinical trials involving people with intellectual disabilities
Patients who live in less affluent neighborhoods and those from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups are less likely than others to receive specialized care for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates. Further, the research shows that Black people are more likely than white people to be diagnosed with dementia at a later, more advanced stage, which could contribute to inequities in access to new treatments.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Lund University in Lund, Sweden, have identified a form of tau that could serve as a marker to track Alzheimer’s progression. The marker also could be used by Alzheimer’s drug developers to assess whether investigational tau-based drugs – the next frontier in Alzheimer’s drug development – are effective against the disease. Such drugs theoretically would benefit people in later stages of the disease, when tau tangles play a crucial role.
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.