News Release

August 9, 2010

CONTACT: Kim Guenther

Penn Medicine - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Health System

This release is available online at

Alzheimer’s Test Can Determine Presence of Disease, Before Dementia Symptoms Appear

Researchers Suggest Spinal Fluid Test Could Be Used to Confirm or Rule Out Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis

A new study provides additional evidence that a biomarker test can be used to reliably determine an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

The diagnostic biomarker test is able to detect the presence of known Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers found in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The ‘signature’ combination of Alzheimer’s disease indicators were found in 90 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

With a 5-year follow up, the study was able to predict 100 percent of patients with mild cognitive impairment who progressed to full blown Alzheimer’s disease.

The test also found that 72 percent of people with mild cognitive impairment and 36 percent of cognitively normal adults showed early signs of Alzheimer’s pathology, suggesting that Alzheimer’s disease pathology is active and detectable earlier than previously thought.

The study appears in the latest issue of the Archives of Neurology, a JAMA/Archives journal. The study was conducted by team of researchers using research from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) Biomarker Core group, which is co-directed by John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Co-director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and Leslie M. Shaw, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, both at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Please review the JAMA/Archives press release for additional information:


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.