Alzheimer’s disease (AD) almost certainly begins to develop before
cognitive decline in an individual becomes apparent, which is why an
increasing amount of research focuses on trying to prevent onset of the disease.
By testing the effectiveness of therapies in people who are either symptom-free
or have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – regarded as an
intermediary step between normal cognition and AD – it is hoped that we may be
able to prevent or even one day, cure, the disease.
Research & Therapy has published its first few review articles in a
series on prevention trials,
which aims to provide an outline of the various measures employed to detect and
tackle AD as early as possible, as well as to describe recent efforts looking
at the prevention of the disease in presymptomatic subjects.
In one review, Brooks and
Loewenstein discuss the tools and techniques currently available to both
researchers and clinicians that allow them to track the progression of MCI
through to AD. They highlight weaknesses in the methodologies being used and
suggest that we should be using multivariate models incorporating cognitive
measures, functional variables and biomarker data to assess the progression of
this disease. Pollen and colleagues meanwhile review attempts to prevent
Alzheimer’s disease in high-risk, presymptomatic subjects and suggest that
large, long-term trials are required to explore the possibility of a potential
prophylactic effect resulting from statin therapy.