Alzheimers Experts Tout New Guidelines For Early Diagnosis

10.11.10 | FL News Team

(London)  --  Researchers are proposing new criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease that would take into account biological signals which are often a precursor to the onset of the debilitating brain disease.  The pre-clinical stage, which can be detected about ten years before a patient begins to suffer dementia, involves brain scans, spinal fluid analyses and other tests.  Experts say the earlier a patient is diagnosed, the more likely it is that experimental drugs created to combat Alzheimer's disease will yield positive results.

Several of the world's largest drug companies have seen clinical trials for Alzheimer's drugs fail, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Medivation.  Doctors theorize that the drugs may have failed because they were given to patients whose brains had already been irreparably damaged by the disease.  

Alzheimer's disease causes the sufferer to gradually lose their memory and reasoning ability.  It is fatal and there is no cure.  A recent estimate said about 26-million people suffer from Alzheimers' worldwide.