Biomarkers of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.Ann Acad Med Singapore 2008; 37(5):406-10AA
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is currently diagnosed only via clinical assessments and confirmed by postmortem brain pathology. Biochemical and neuroimaging markers could facilitate diagnosis, predict AD progression from a pre-AD state of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and be used to monitor efficacies of disease-modifying therapies. It is now clear that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of A beta 40, A beta 42, total tau and phosphorylated tau have diagnostic values in AD. Measurements of the above CSF markers in combination are useful in predicting the risk of progression from MCI to AD. Recent advances further support a notion that plasma A beta levels, expressed as an A beta 42/A beta 40 ratio, could also be of value. New potential biomarkers are emerging, and CSF or plasma marker profiles may eventually become part of the clinician's toolkit for accurate AD diagnosis and management. These biomarkers, along with clinical assessment, neuropsychological testing and neuroimaging could achieve a much higher diagnostic accuracy for AD and related disorders in the future.