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Research identifies three distinct subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease

October 12, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Metabolic profiling has revealed Alzheimer’s disease consists of three distinct subtypes, according to new research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Aging.

“Because the presentation varies from person to person, there has been suspicion for years that Alzheimer’s represents more than one illness,” said study author Dale Bredesen, MD, visiting neurology professor and director of Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the University of California at Los Angeles news release. “When laboratory tests go beyond the usual test, we find these three distinct subtypes.

“The important implications of this are that the optimal treatment may be different for each group, there may be different causes, and, for future clinical trials, it may be helpful to study specific groups separately.”

Bredesen conducted metabolic testing of 50 people with cognitive decline and those at risk of cognitive decline over a two-year period.

He found the cortical subtype variation to be fundamentally different. It affects relatively young people and appears more widely distributed across the brain. Participants initially lost their long-term memory but retained and retrieved new information. This subtype is often misdiagnosed, affects people without family history and is associated with a significant zinc deficiency, the second most abundant trace metal in the human body.

Read the full study here.

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