‘Time is brain’: Early diagnosis can help preserve cognitive function

After reviewing this study, Karen D. Sullivan, PhD, ABPP, a board-certified neuropsychologist, owner of I CARE FOR YOUR BRAIN, and Reid Healthcare Transformation Fellow at FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, NC, told MNT she is always hopeful to see new research that may help us diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in the earliest stage possible.

“Time is brain — the longer someone waits for an accurate dementia diagnosis, the more time is wasted to personalize therapies with the goal of stabilization,” Sullivan explained.

“We’ve known for some time that the physiological disease process in Alzheimer’s disease is happening decades before the clinical symptoms of trouble with new learning and short-term memory are revealed,“ she told us.

“That’s where we all want the advances to happen — as early as possible before we lose networks of brain cells and the damage becomes irreversible,” noted Sullivan.

More diagnostic tools for early-stage Alzheimer’s needed

MNT also spoke with Manisha Parulekar, FACP, AGSF, CMD, director of the Division of Geriatrics and co-director of the Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, also not involved in this study.

Parulekar agreed it is important to have more tools to diagnose Alzheimer’s at an early, asymptomatic stage.

“This will allow early interventions and support for patients and care providers,” she told us. We are continuing to look for effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. Identification of various biomarkers can potentially help understand the pathophysiology, which will help us in identifying effective treatments.”

“It is exciting to see various biomarkers to help assist with early diagnosis — this will allow us to continue making progress in getting an effective treatment for this devastating disease that affects millions of people,” the expert added.