Alzheimer's is a debilitating brain disease that affects memory and cognitive function in approximately 4 million Americans today and, if unchecked, will strike as many as 14 million during the next 50 years. The distinguishing factor between AD and other dementias is the formation of a protein substance called beta-amyloid, or amyloid plaque, that is believed to contribute to the death of brain cells.
Results of the study were chosen for rapid publication online in the early view section of Annals of Neurology.
According to the researchers, creation of the compound, dubbed Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB), is a significant development that may provide long-sought answers to questions of how the disease begins and grows, as well as contribute to a better understanding of how effective new drug therapies are at preventing, delaying or treating AD.
"PIB has given us a new tool to view the amount of amyloid in the brains of living Alzheimer's disease patients," said William E. Klunk, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-inventor of PIB. "Using PIB, we will likely be able to follow the progression of the disease and speed the development of promising new therapies aimed at halting the build-up of amyloid in the brain."
Alzheimer's disease, like stroke, is a significant cause of dementia in people over the age of 65. But unlike stroke, which begins with a single event, there is no way for doct
Contact: Craig Dunhoff
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center