Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Early Arrival

Scientists have long been searching for biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer's disease. Now, new research suggests that such markers might be apparent even earlier than thought.

In a study published this week in The Lancet Neurology, a team of researchers found that biomarkers linked to Alzheimer's were apparent at least 20 years before the onset of symptoms.

The findings came from a study of young adults from a population in Colombia with a high prevalence of a mutation in the presenilin 1, or PSEN1, gene, which leads to the development of Alzheimer's at an early age. In an analysis of 44 subjects — 20 who carried the mutation and 24 who did not — the researchers found differences in brain structure and function between the two groups.

They also found increased cerebrospinal fluid levels of amyloid beta — an established protein biomarker for Alzheimer's — in mutation carriers well in advance of clinical onset of the disease.

Alzheimer's is a key area of focus for the pharmaceutical industry, but drug development efforts have had little success with many researchers suggesting that by the time patients present with symptoms the disease may be too far progressed to treat effectively. It's hoped that early detection biomarkers could enable identification of presymptomatic Alzheimer's patients and improve their therapeutic options.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.