AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Scientists Use New Data Mining Strategy to Spot Those at High Alzheimer’s Risk

Method could group similar Alzheimer’s patients for more precise drug trials

 

The push to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has been a promising and disappointing endeavor over the past two decades, yielding a greater understanding of the disease yet still failing to generate successful new drugs.

To blame are the many undefined subtypes of mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

“Everyone thinks Alzheimer’s is one disease, but it’s not,” said P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the neurocognitive disorders program at Duke Health. “There are many subgroups. If you enroll all different types of people in a trial, but your drug is targeting only one biological pathway, of course the people who don’t have that abnormality are not going to respond to the drug, and the trial is going to fail.”

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