Alzheimer`s signs appear 25 yrs before onset of disease: Study

Updated: Jul 12, 2012, 15:50 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Alzheimer’s- related changes begin to appear up to 25 years before the expected onset of the disease, a new study has claimed that may help pave way for early diagnosis and treatment of the brain disorder.

A team of scientists from Washington University School of Medicine studied 128 participants who had 50% chance of inheriting the disease.

The scientist suggested that the earliest sign of the changes, a drop in spinal fluid levels of the key ingredient of Alzheimer`s brain plaques, can be detected 25 years before the anticipated age of the disease’s onset.

Increased levels of a protein called tau in the spinal fluid and the shrinkage of parts of the brain become evident 15 years before the symptoms appear.

At 10 years, reduced use of sugar glucose in the brain and slight memory problems become apparent.

The ability to detect Alzheimer`s early would give the best chance of successful treatment of the disease, said UK experts.

The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.