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2008 Grants - Xiong
The Earliest Antecedent Markers of Alzheimer's Disease
Chengjie Xiong, Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
It is widely recognized that the processes causing dementia in persons with Alzheimer's disease begin many years before the disease can be diagnosed and before declines in cognitive function can be detected. A major goal of research is to identify reliable markers of the disease at its earliest stages —markers that can be used in the clinic for early diagnosis and for monitoring disease progression.
Chengjie Xiong, Ph.D., and colleagues are using statistical methods to identify clinically useful markers of early Alzheimer's disease. They are using a method called multimodal longitudinal growth curve analysis to detect important changes in markers that predict later development of the disease. The researchers are applying this method to two databases of information from a large number of individuals collected over an extended period of time.
The databases include results of neuropsychological assessments, brain imaging and laboratory analysis of the fluid surrounding cells in the brain (the cerebrospinal fluid). Their analysis will examine changes in various measures over time and how those changes correspond to an individual's risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at a later time. This analysis may identify a clinically useful measure of disease onset that could be used as part of a new standard diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease, potentially enabling treatment to begin at much earlier times.