Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Early Clinical and Biological Manifestations of Alzheimer's Disease: Implications for Screening and Treatment

        Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a slowly progressive disease with an average of more than 10 years from first manifestations to death. Both the underlying biology of AD and its clinical manifestations change substantially over the course of the illness. This chapter reviews briefly some recent studies investigating the neurobiologic changes in the brains of AD patients over the course of the illness, with an emphasis on the earliest changes.

     Cognitive deficits also change over the course of illness and an understanding of the earliest cognitive changes may enable the development of screening instruments for AD. An ongoing set of studies designed to determine the reliability and validity of telephonic screening instruments is described. An instrument of this type could be useful in clinical trials of agents for the primary prevention of AD, as well as in health service-delivery organizations where there is a need to identify cases of AD that have not yet been diagnosed.

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