Biomarkers, mild cognitive impairment and early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease

Hiroyuki Arai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elderly people are concerned about changes in their cognitive functioning. Since cholinergic therapies for Alzheimer's disease have been developed and become widely accepted, elderly people have come to visit clinics to seek medical advice about whether such a subtle change in cognitive ability may represent an early manifestation of Alzheimer's disease (AD). If they are likely to develop dementia or AD, they want to receive immediate medical treatment as soon as possible to prevent further loss of cognitive functioning so that they can live independently as long as possible. The first priority in the clinical application of a biomarker is that biomarker should contribute to early diagnosis of dementia. Among such biomarkers, we believe that cerebrospinal fluid markers and functional brain imaging are clinically the most applicable procedures. Since 1993, we have collected 623 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples at The Tohoku University Hospital for evaluation of dementia (age : 42-93). We found that CSF/phospho-tau measures produced the most adequate sensitivity (85.2%) and specificity (85.0%) in the diagnosis of AD as a sole bio-marker. The CSF levels of Aβ 1-42 showed a strong positive correlation with the Mini-mental state examination score and brain glucose metabolism by positron emission tomography. The baseline levels of both total-tau and phospho-tau in CSF increased in approximately 70% of patients with mild cognitive impairment who later developed AD, suggesting that pathological change in the brain might start years before dementia becomes clinically manifested. A combined use of CSF-tau and IMP-SPECT improved the predictability of the transition from mild cognitive impairment into AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese Journal of Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Biomarkers
  • Cerebrospinal fluid-tau
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomarkers, mild cognitive impairment and early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this