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.

NIA guide for primary care doctors on assessing cognitive impairment

Primary care physicians and their staffs are often the first healthcare professionals to see older patients with memory loss or other cognitive symptoms. These symptoms have many possible causes—some reversible, some not.

To help improve diagnosis, a new online “quick guide” from NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center advises primary care professionals about the benefits of early screening and how to assess cognitive impairment in 10 minutes or less.

Helping primary care providers screen for cognitive impairment

Physicians and other medical staff can get resources for assessing older patients for cognitive impairment from the National Institute on Aging.

Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Older Patients


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



Learn how doctors use memory tests, brain scans, and other exams and procedures to diagnose dementia.

The Dementias


Get an overview of dementia, including its many types, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and research in this publication from NIH.

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.

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