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News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Lumbar punctures could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 03 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:950
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. Nebraska

    Alzheimer's disease can be fairly accurately diagnosed through measurement of concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid of two proteins associated with the illness, a new primary study and a meta-analysis of 51 other studies has found (JAMA 2003;289:2094-103).

    Although Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, definitive diagnosis relies on neuropathological analysis of the brain at postmortem.

    Currently the diagnosis is based on excluding other possibilities and is clinically assumed. Alzheimer's disease can be confused with a number of other dementias, such as Lewy body disease and Pick's disease.

    Testing of the cerebrospinal fluid may allow doctors to diagnose the illness earlier and to forestall cognitive decline by beginning treatment sooner.

    Researchers led by Dr Trey Sunderland of the National Institute for Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, measured the concentrations of two types of protein, β amyloid protein …

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