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New Method for Diagnosing Alzheimer???s Disease
by admin on: March 25th, 2011

The Mayo clinic states that Alzheimer???s disease is the most common cause of dementia in people. Dementia is defined as the loss of both intellectual and social abilities, such that a person???s daily functioning is affected. For people who suffer from Alzheimer???s disease, the healthy brain tissue degenerates, which results in steady decline in memory and mental abilities.

A study published in the scientific journal, Archives of Neurology, details the data collected from a research group in Belgium that analyzed 114 older patients who were cognitively normal, and compared them to 200 older patients (102 diagnosed with Alzheimer???s) who had cognitive impairments. These scientists looked in the cerebrospinal fluid in patients for specific biomarkers (proteins indicative of, in this case, a condition) that develop when the patient has a disease. Their results confirmed a diagnosis of Alzheimer???s in 64 of 68 cases. In addition, this assay of spinal fluid enabled diagnoses of Alzheimer???s in one-third of the patients who were asymptomatic. The data suggests that the disease is already underway in these patients, even in the absence of symptoms. Two experts in Alzheimer???s from the United States confirmed that this method of analysis that inspects the cerebrospinal fluid should be used more.

Unfortunately, there is no therapy developed that can cure Alzheimer???s. Most of the medicines prescribed by doctors treat the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer???s disease, such as sleeplessness, wandering, agitation, depression, and anxiety. Of the medications available there are two classes of drugs that demonstrated some effectiveness at slowing the cognitive decline that is associated with Alzheimer???s; these drugs are Cholinesterase inhibitors, such as Donepezil (Aricept), Galantamine (Razadyne), or Rivastigmine (Exelon), or the drug Memantine (Namenda), which is sometimes used concurrently with a Cholinesterase inhibitor.

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