Yes, it is. A recent study proposed a new way to estimate how far a person has progressed toward dementia and how much time is left before the first cognitive symptoms arise. For that all the researchers need is a person’s age and information from a single amyloid PET scan.
After analyzing clinical assessments and amyloid PET scans from 236 people aged 67 years old (on average) at the beginning of the study and 4 ½ years later, the researchers found that amyloid accumulation has a tipping point and that each person hits that tipping point at a different age. After this tipping point, amyloid accumulation has the similar accelerated path.
To give an example, in the study it turned out that people with the genetic predisposition hit the tipping point younger. However, once that point was passed, they followed the same path as everyone else.
Another interesting finding is related to age. People who hit the tipping point at age 50 typically took nearly 20 years to develop symptoms, while those who hit it at age 80 took less than 10 years. Researchers believe that this difference has to do with cognitive reserves that are lower in older people. That is why it takes less amyloid to cause the symptoms.
At this moment, amyloid PET brain scans are too expensive for routine clinical use. Nevertheless, the proposed way to predict Alzheimer’s can be used in clinical trials for an accurate selection of people who are likely to develop symptoms in the next few years to be more precise in development of new treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Curious? HERE is the source