New Test to Identify
Alzheimer’s Disease – Diagnosis and Determine Effectiveness of Drugs
Used to Treat Condition Quickly
June 25th 2006
Scientists are closer to determining whether Alzheimer’s patients have
high levels of a brain protein because they make too much of it or
because they can't clear it from their brains quickly enough.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
have developed the first safe and sensitive way to monitor the
production and clearance rates of amyloid beta peptide (Abeta) in the
human central nervous system.
High levels of the beta peptide Abeta in the brain is a hallmark for
Alzheimer's disease and is believed to be a pivotal cause of the
condition. Previously researchers had trouble determining whether the
body was producing too much of the peptide or was having trouble
removing it from the system.
Tests that measure Abeta levels in the cerebrospinal fluid have been
available for some time. "Abeta has the second-fastest production rate
of any protein whose production rate has been measured so far," says
lead author Randall Bateman, M.D., assistant professor of neurology. "In
a time span of about six or seven hours, you make half the amyloid beta
found in your central nervous system."