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Molecular and Imaging Biomarkers in Alzheimer's Disease: A Focus on Recent Insights

Chiara Villa, Marialuisa Lavitrano, Elena Salvatore, Romina Combi
Journal of Personalized Medicine 2020 July 10, 10 (3)
32664352
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease among the elderly, affecting millions of people worldwide and clinically characterized by a progressive and irreversible cognitive decline. The rapid increase in the incidence of AD highlights the need for an easy, efficient and accurate diagnosis of the disease in its initial stages in order to halt or delay the progression. The currently used diagnostic methods rely on measures of amyloid-β (Aβ), phosphorylated (p-tau) and total tau (t-tau) protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) aided by advanced neuroimaging techniques like positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, the invasiveness of these procedures and the high cost restrict their utilization. Hence, biomarkers from biological fluids obtained using non-invasive methods and novel neuroimaging approaches provide an attractive alternative for the early diagnosis of AD. Such biomarkers may also be helpful for better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease, allowing differential diagnosis or at least prolonging the pre-symptomatic stage in patients suffering from AD. Herein, we discuss the advantages and limits of the conventional biomarkers as well as recent promising candidates from alternative body fluids and new imaging techniques.

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