Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a significant public health
burden and has huge devastating effects at an individual level. For over two
decades, an arbitrary cut-off of age of 65 years has been
used to distinguish between the two phenotypes of early and late-onset AD and since the majority
of Alzheimer’s disease patients develop late-onset AD, most clinical trials address
this population, resulting in many of those with early-onset AD being excluded.
In a review article recently published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy as
part of a new review series on early-onset dementia, Kinga Szigeti and Rachelle
Doody discuss whether early-onset AD patients should be included in clinical
trials. Despite the fact that heritability in early-onset AD is higher than in
late-onset AD, the authors put forward the notion that actively enrolling
early-onset AD patients into clinical trials would actually be of benefit to
the research community. Among other things, they argue that it is unethical to
exclude early-onset AD patients from clinical trials and critically, that
transgenic animal models are based on the amyloid hypothesis, the
pathomechanism widely regarded as being responsible for early-onset AD and emphasise that it would make sense for this population to participate in trials.
Further review articles in this series will be published
over the coming months and other series published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy are available to view here. Alzheimer’s
Research & Therapy considers basic research with a translational focus,
including research submissions on early-onset AD. For further information about how to submit your own work, please see the instructions for
authors or contact the editorial team.