Update on Alzheimer’s Disease

*Kurt A. Jellinger

Institute of Clinical Neurobiology, Vienna, Austria *Correspondence to kurt.jellinger@univie.ac.at

Disclosure: The author has declared no conflicts of interest.
Received: 17.12.14 Accepted: 13.02.15
Citation: EMJ Neurol. 2015;3[1]:82-90.


With the disproportionate growth of the elderly population, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as the most common cause of dementia, has become a major public health and socio-economic problem of our time. Updated consensus criteria for clinical diagnosis and new biomarkers have increased the diagnostic accuracy to over 90%, with a sensitivity versus other dementias of around 85% and a specificity of up to 78%, although a definite diagnosis depends on neuropathological examination. However, due to overlap between dementing disorders and frequent concurrence of multiple pathologies in the aged brain, both clinical and post-mortem studies entail biases that affect their validity. Harmonised interdisciplinary approaches are required to increase the accuracy and reproducibility of AD diagnosis as a basis for neuroprotection and efficient treatment. Preventative measures can minimise risk factors and confounding diseases, whereas anti-dementive treatment with drugs and non-pharmacological interventions can currently only delay the progression of the clinical course without causal effects. Better early diagnosis, active immunotherapies, and disease-modifying measures are the most important challenges for modern neurosciences.

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