The current Journal of the American Medical Association reported some recent developments in the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. These initial findings will require further research and review, but may eventually point to improvements in the assessment and treatment of AD.
Researchers at the National Institute on Aging drew from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging to make longitudinal observations on blood flow in the brain. Annual cognitive tests and positron emission tomography (PET) tests were conducted on 121 participants for an average of 12 years. Findings suggested that individuals who went on to develop cognitive impairment saw a greater change in the blood flow to areas of the brain relating to memory and attention.
Other findings presented at the conference point to potential pharmaceutical therapies that may eventually be used in the treatment of early-stage AD, which are currently being explored in animal models. The findings presented at the conference will require further peer review and follow-up research before they can be used to improve early AD diagnosis, but they point to some promising areas of potential assessment and therapy that may emerge in the years to come.