Alzheimer’s Association Publishes Risk Guidelines

 

Alzheimer’s Association pic

Alzheimer’s Association
Image: alz.org

As founder of the recruiting firm Another8, Scott Robarge helps early to mid-stage high-tech companies to find skilled talent. Scott Robarge also stands out as an active supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to a recently published study in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, a person’s lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease depends largely on age, gender, and the presents of dementia symptoms. The researchers have developed a rubric that is unique in its incorporation of changes that occur in the brain as many as 20 years before clinical symptoms appear.

Many people whose brains undergo these changes never develop clinical Alzheimer’s disease, largely because of the prolonged period of pre-clinical asymptomatic presentation. Study author Ron Brookmeyer, PhD, offered the example of a 90-year-old female and 65-year-old female, both with the biomarker of amyloid plaques. Because the 90-year-old has a shorter life expectancy by the time she has reached the age of 90, she would have a lifetime risk that is nearly 21 percent less than that of the 65-year-old.

To evaluate risk, the team’s metric requires information about the patient’s age and whether or not any amyloid deposits are present. The screening also requires assessment of a patient’s level of neuro-degeneration and whether any mild cognitive impairment is present. The presence of all three factors indicates the highest risk.

The chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association Dr. Maria Carillo states that risk predictors may prove useful once viable treatments are available. Such risk evaluations also may help to secure volunteers for clinical trials, as a patient may be more likely to volunteer if he or she has a higher risk of developing the disease.

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