Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease


Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, leads to progressive loss of memory and autonomy. It is characterised by the accumulation of neurotoxic proteins in the brain, namely amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Due to the silent development of pathology over decades, very early diagnosis is of utmost importance to be able to take action as early as possible in the disease process. 

A team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) has demonstrated that tau PET -- a novel imaging technique for visualising the tau protein -- can predict cognitive decline in patients much better than the imaging techniques normally used. 

These results, published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, argue in favour of the rapid introduction of tau PET into the clinical routine to provide patients with early and individualised solutions.

Amyloid plaques are not necessarily accompanied by cognitive or memory loss. However, the presence of tau goes hand in hand with clinical symptoms. Its absence or presence is the main determinant of whether a patient's condition remains stable or deteriorates rapidly.