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Alzheimer’s Trail Runs Hot and Cold

Brain imaging and cognitive tests may be the gold standards for tracking Alzheimer disease progression, but clinical trials using these procedures are expensive, risky, and time-consuming.

As a result, making the development of reliable go-betweens is a pressing goal for AD researchers.

The Alzheimer Research Forum reports on three recent papers that highlight new promise, and expose nagging pitfalls, of one of the field’s most widely used surrogate measures: cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers.

CSF samples offer researchers an indirect peek at signature molecules in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases without having to probe the brain itself.

In one study, scientists use a new method for quantifying protein turnover in the central nervous system to show that a candidate AD drug lowers CNS Aβ production in healthy people.

This approach has the potential to streamline drug development, by indicating early on if and to what extent experimental compounds reach their CNS target. More generally, biomarker analysis presents an ongoing challenge in that their measurement varies markedly in different assays, even among different labs using the same assays.

Researchers have tried to get a better handle on this problem, and the second study reported in this story finds sobering variability among 20 labs worldwide that measured Aβ42, tau, and phospho-tau in the same CSF samples.

Meanwhile, a third report describes a potential new AD biomarker in the form of reduced CSF levels of the sortilin-related receptor SORLA.

Source: Alzheimer Research Forum Foundation

Alzheimer’s Trail Runs Hot and Cold

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Alzheimer’s Trail Runs Hot and Cold. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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