Buildup of Tau In Brain Effective Predictor of Cognitive Decline Progression
Plaque forms in the brain when protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together. Tangles form when tau proteins become misfiled and abnormally shaped. Plaque and tangle buildup in the brain are biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease. A new study has found that early accumulation of tau proteins in the brain may be the most effective biomarker for Alzheimer's progression and memory impairment.
Participants in the study included 282 adults with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, or no cognitive impairment. Brain scans were administered to evaluate buildup of beta-amyloid and tau. Participants were followed for 3 years and their short-term memory capabilities were tested periodically.
The researchers found that buildup of tau protein was associated with a rapid decline in cognitive functioning, especially for episodic memory. They also found that concentration of tau was a better predictor of cognitive decline than concentration of beta-amyloid.
The study was conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institutet. The study was published on October 1, 2021 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.