Brain imaging and proteins in spinal fluid may improve Alzheimer’s prediction and diagnosis

Vienna, July 14, 2009 – Changes in the brain measured with MRI and PET scans, combined with memory tests and detection of risk proteins in body fluids, may lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, according to new research reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna.

The National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), data from which forms the basis of these three studies, is a $60 million, 5-year, public-private partnership to test whether imaging technologies (such as MRI and PET), other biomarkers, and clinical and neuropsychological assessment can be combined to measure progression toward Alzheimer’s. ADNI is the first study to examine a number of candidate Alzheimer’s biomarkers in the same individuals. The study is expected to be a landmark for identifying Alzheimer’s biomarkers, with data widely available to researchers. ADNI is primarily funded by NIA, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with private sector support through the Foundation for NIH. The Alzheimer’s Association is one of the ADNI sponsors.*

A biomarker is a substance or characteristic that can be objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal body processes, disease processes, or the body’s response(s) to therapy. For example, blood pressure is a biomarker that indicates risk of cardiovascular disease.

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