Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 314
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825557

Neurochemical early and differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia

J Wiltfang 1, P Lewczuk 1, M Maler 1, A Smirnov 1, J Kornhuber 1
  • 1Dept. of Psychiatry, Laboratory for Molecular Neurobiology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universitìt Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the major cause of dementia in the elderly. Concomitant with improvements in the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia, like introduction of acetylocholinesterase inhibitors and/or memantine, the need for an early and differential diagnosis of dementive disorders becomes even more urgent. Although sensitivity of clinical diagnosis is relatively high, specificity is much lower. Neurochemical dementia diagnostics – currently restricted to the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid – is rapidly developing from a traditional exclusion to a positive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia. Meanwhile the sensitivity and most importantly the specificity of neurochemical dementia diagnostics was considerably improved, exceeding 80%. Moreover, most recent data indicate that the clinical fate of patients with mild cognitive impairment can be predicted by the analysis of single or integrated evaluation of multiple dementia markers. The scope of our presentation is to summarize the current state-of-the-art in the field of neurochemical dementia diagnostics and to highlight promising future developments like integrated dementia biochips and blood assays.