Top 3 AD Research Trends

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

One site I follow for news in this field is the Alzheimer's Research Forum. The postings there can be quite technical as they target medical researchers as an audience. Nonetheless, the content they cover is often the same content as that which gets translated into lay terms (accurately or otherwise) by journalists in the general press.

They recently summarized their opinion of the top research trends in the AD field and I found it to be an excellent summary with a rich set of links to ongoing research stories. From a public impact perspective, I have selected the three from their list that I think are most likely to make a real-world difference, or at least be worthy news stories, in the coming year.

1. Revised Diagnostic Criteria
We posted this news followed by our perspective on this change when it was first discussed last summer. I think the new criteria, which define AD based on pathological evidence as opposed to severity of symptoms, provide a great step forward and will enable earlier intervention in a clinical setting.

2. Biomarkers
The ongoing effort to better understand AD pathology brings bio-markers to the forefront of importance. This year will likely see the first FDA approval for an agent that binds to amyloid in the brain and enables visibility on a PET scan. This along with ongoing research on proteins in the blood and spinal fluid, brain volumes, cognitive measures, and a host of other bio-markers portends a year of advance for the field.

3. The Amyloid Hypothesis (or hypotheses)
As described by the editors at Alzheimer's Forum, last year saw advances in understanding of amyloid's "...production, aggregation, function, and toxicity". All of this new knowledge must be assimilated into the evolving hypotheses about the role of beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disease.

While there is much work underway in this field and many facets to the complex problems caused by Alzheimer's disease, the three noted trends above will certainly be central themes in the news during the coming year. Follow along with our posts at this blog to stay abreast of all developments and to understand the likely effects of each.

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