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    Clues to Early Detection, Treatment of Alzheimer's

    Brain, Blood Changes Occur Decades Before Alzheimer's Symptoms

    Brain Changes Occur 10 Years Prior to Alzheimer's Symptoms continued...

    "We think these changes start even earlier, 15 or 20 years prior to symptoms, but the patients have to be followed longer to confirm that," Morris says.
    About half of study participants have gene mutations that cause Alzheimer's and half don't. Nearly all have no or only mild symptoms when recruited.
    Bateman would not name the drugs that will be tested, although he did acknowledge that most target beta-amyloid plaque.

    "Understanding the sequence of biomarkers has value for early diagnosis and prognosis in Alzheimer's disease. It will also put us in a position to intervene with [disease-modifying] treatments earlier, so we catch the train before it leaves the station, before it gets going and develops momentum," says New York University's Ralph Nixon, MD, PhD, vice chair of the Alzheimer’s Association's medical and scientific council.

    "Once the disease starts, it is that more difficult to treat," he tells WebMD.

    About 35 million people worldwide and 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.

    These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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