A New Test for Alzheimer's and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

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In a study published in Acta Neuropathologica, researchers at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adapted a diagnostic test originally developed for prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD, or so-called mad cow disease) to detect abnormal clusters of tau protein in the brain — a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurological disorder observed in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive head trauma.

The NIH researchers used brain samples from 16 Alzheimer's patients, two boxers with CTE, and a number of control subjects with other brain diseases for their small, laboratory study. Their findings could lead to earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and CTE and provide new information about how these conditions originate and progress.

The test, which has been used for about 10 years to diagnose sporadic CJD and has already been adapted to detect Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, is highly sensitive and provides quick, accurate results. According to the researchers, these latest findings could signal a major advance for Alzheimer’s and CTE diagnosis.

Sourced from: Acta Neuropathologica