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Medical News & Perspectives
December 10, 2008

Alzheimer Researchers Focus Efforts on Early Development and Earlier Detection

JAMA. 2008;300(22):2595-2597. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.722

With more than 5 million people in the United States diagnosed with Alzheimer disease (AD)—a number that is expected to triple in the next few decades—researchers are hotly pursuing effective therapies to treat the condition. One of the keys to doing so, say experts in the field, is finding a way to detect AD in its earliest stages, as well as gaining a better understanding of AD pathogenesis.

Earlier detection of AD is crucial to diminishing its impact. By the time most people become symptomatic—even mildly so—and certainly by the time they have clinical AD, a lot of damage has already been done, said Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.