“New way of defining Alzheimer’s aims to find disease sooner,” by Marilynn Marchione, AP
“Government and other scientists are proposing a new way to define Alzheimer’s disease — basing it on biological signs, such as brain changes, rather than memory loss and other symptoms of dementia that are used today. The move is aimed at improving research, by using more objective criteria like brain scans to pick patients for studies and enroll them sooner in the course of their illness, when treatments may have more chance to help. But it’s too soon to use these scans and other tests in routine care, because they haven’t been validated for that yet, experts stress. For now, doctors will still rely on the tools they’ve long used to evaluate thinking skills to diagnose most cases. Regardless of what tests are used to make the diagnosis, the new definition will have a startling effect: Many more people will be considered to have Alzheimer’s, because the biological signs can show up 15 to 20 years before symptoms do.”
LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform): The more we know about Alzheimer’s, the bigger problem it becomes.