Big Data Confirm Amyloid’s Role in Early Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's Disease Research

In two studies receiving international attention, 2013-16 BrightFocus grantee Rik Ossenkoppele, PhD, of Vrije Universiteit (VU) Medical Center, Amsterdam, and colleagues in the Netherlands have lent confidence to our understanding of how Alzheimer’s develops. Their findings help confirm that amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide levels start to build up and aggregate long before Alzheimer’s symptoms develop, and are predictive of disease.

Published in JAMA on May 19, both studies were meta-analyses, studies that are conducted by doing statistical analyses on aggregated data collected in previous research. While researchers can control for variations in data sets and other factors that might impinge upon scientific accuracy, meta-analyses, because they rely on second-hand data, cannot offer proof. However, these studies have provided a reassuring level of support for what already has been observed and hypothesized about the biologic timing and course of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

“These reports are the largest and most detailed to date,” commented Roger N. Rosenberg, MD, a neurologists and long-time editor of JAMA Neurology. His editorial accompanied the studies in JAMA.

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