Tests that can best predict occurrence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been identified by scientists.
These memory and brain scan tests were performed on 85 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who were part of a larger study called the 'Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative'.
The tests included an episodic memory test, in which a participant must correctly recall a list of words. The study also included MRI and PET brain scans, as well as measuring proteins that are thought to play a role in AD.
"Each of these tests have independently shown promise in predicting disease progression, however, prior to the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, they had never been compared to one another in the same study before," said study author Susan M. Landau, PhD, with the University of California-Berkeley and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
People who showed abnormal results on both PET scans and episodic memory tests were nearly 12 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who scored normally on both measures.
"Because people with MCI decline at different rates and some never go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, there is a need for tools that can better predict who might benefit most from treatment," said Landau.
"When we compared all of the predictors, these two tests most accurately predicted who developed Alzheimer's."
The research has been published in the June 30, 2010, online issue of Neurology(r).