International experts propose new criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer's

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An international group of dementia experts is proposing a change in the definition of Alzheimer's disease. They want to be able to diagnose the condition earlier and provide interventional treatments, according to recent reports.

Members of the International Working Group for New Research Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease want to include recently discovered biomarkers in the diagnostic criteria for the disease, Reuters reported. Brain scans and cerebrospinal fluid tests can identify biomarkers years before symptoms of Alzheimer's disease manifest themselves, according to members of the group. It is widely believed that the pre-clinical stage roughly 10 years before noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer's set in is the best time to begin interventional treatments that could help reduce the disease's impact.

Under the newly proposed guidelines, patients could be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease if they had occasional memory loss, and at least one biomarker associated with Alzheimer's disease. The research group's recommendations are published in Monday's edition of the medical journal The Lancet. These biomarkers include some protein clusters associated with later-stage development of the disease.