Neurofilament in Blood Foretells Early Onset Alzheimer’s

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A paper published online on the 21st January in Nature Medicine finds that in familial Alzheimer’s disease, blood levels of neurofilament light (NfL) rise 16 years before the predicted age of onset. Scientists led by Mathias Jucker, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Tübingen, measured the protein in serial samples given by participants in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN). They found that the change in NfL level over time, rather than the absolute amount, was the best correlate of cortical thinning and better prognostic marker. While not specific for AD, NfL could help track progression of the disease and serve as a marker in clinical trials, wrote the authors. Alzforum covered these findings when co-first author Stephanie Schultz, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, presented them at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago last year (Aug 2018 conference news).

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