Diagnosis

NIH-supported study shows promise for blood test for Alzheimer’s disease

Preliminary findings from a study by National Institute on Aging (NIA) scientists and colleagues showed that a blood test for Alzheimer’s-related proteins may accurately predict who might be at risk for the disease years before symptoms develop. The test measured the levels of several tau and amyloid proteins—the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease—in exosomes, microscopic organelles shed by brain cells.

New database helps clinicians, researchers find instruments to detect cognitive impairment in older adults

Evaluating the cognitive status of older patients in the primary care setting is one of the first steps in determining the cause of problems with memory, attention, and other aspects of thinking that can affect their health and well-being. With dozens of instruments available, finding the right ones to use can be a challenge. Now, clinicians and researchers have a new and simple way to find appropriate instruments—through a searchable database from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health.

Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults

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How can the primary care physician assess cognitive impairment in older adults? Learn about the benefits of early screening, screening tools & more.

Diagnosis

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older couple with doctorIt’s important to know which type of LBD a person has, both to tailor treatment to particular symptoms and to understand how the disease will likely progress. Clinicians and researchers use the “1-year rule” to diagnose which form of LBD a person has. If cognitive symptoms appear within a year of movement problems, the diagnosis is dementia with Lewy bodies.

Diagnosis

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older woman and doctorDoctors first assess whether the individual has an underlying treatable condition such as depression, abnormal thyroid function, drug-induced encephalopathy, normal pressure hydrocephalus, or vitamin B12 deficiency. Early diagnosis is important, as some causes for symptoms can be treated. In many cases, the specific type of dementia that a person has may not be confirmed until after the person has died and the brain is examined.

The Dementias

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Get an overview of dementia, including its many types, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and research in this publication from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging, both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Biomarkers can predict risk for Alzheimer’s several years before symptoms appear

Brain imaging and spinal-fluid testing can help predict which cognitively normal older people will develop Alzheimer’s disease as many as 7.5 years before symptoms appear, according to a new study supported in part by the NIA. The findings confirm the power of biomarkers as predictors of disease risk in the earliest, symptom-free stages of Alzheimer’s disease. These biomarkers may prove to be valuable tools in testing promising treatments in future studies.

Memorial Butler lecture features studies in early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Family, friends, colleagues, and the NIH scientific community celebrated the life of the NIA’s founding director May 8 at the Dr. Robert N. Butler Memorial Lecture. The lecture, part of the prestigious NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, featured Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging and the Mayo Alzheimer’s Research Center, as well as remarks about Dr. Butler by current NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes. Lecture host NIH Director Dr.

Latest NIH Alzheimer’s research progress report available

A new online report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) highlights recent progress in NIH-supported Alzheimer’s disease research.

Prepared annually by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH, the latest report -- 2011-2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort -- describes new investments and summarizes research in several areas:

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