Newswise — Slowly but surely, Alzheimer disease researchers are coming to grips with the possibility that some experimental therapies could be failing because they have been tested in people whose disease is too advanced. The field's focus is therefore shifting toward earlier diagnosis, even prevention. Reflecting the new emphasis, this year's Human Amyloid Imaging (HAI) meeting drew some 150 researchers to Seattle to share and discuss the latest in brain imaging, which will be crucial for identifying at-risk individuals and helping them pursue approaches to resist the progression of their disease. The Alzheimer Research Forum reports on the meeting in an ongoing four--part series.

Figuring out what high levels of brain amyloid mean for otherwise healthy older people was a prime focus of the meeting. Along with new research suggesting correlations between high amyloid load and declining glucose metabolism, several other studies strengthen the case that amyloid-laden brains are on the wane. "There was consensus that among normal people, amyloid is associated with changes in the brain," said Reisa Sperling of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, in a conversation with Alzforum. "That might be very valuable in identifying individuals who will get preventive treatment. If we can identify people who are going to get AD a decade later, we have a window to treat people before they get symptoms," Sperling noted.

Such innovative strategies promise to transform the development of Alzheimer diagnostics and treatments. Learn about the latest advances and challenges by reading the Alzforum's series at:

The Alzheimer Research Forum (, founded in 1996, is the web's most dynamic scientific community dedicated to understanding Alzheimer disease and related disorders. Access to the web site is free to all. The Forum's editorial priorities are as diverse as the needs of the research community. The web site reports on the latest scientific findings, from basic research to clinical trials; creates and maintains public databases of essential research data and reagents; and produces discussion forums to promote debate, speed the dissemination of new ideas, and break down barriers across the numerous disciplines that can contribute to the global effort to cure Alzheimer's disease.

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Human Amyloid Imaging Conference