Wash. Univ. School of Medicine researching ways to predict who will develop Alzheimer’s

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ST. LOUIS – With her eyes on her work at the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Missouri and her brain on her mind, Cheryl Kinney is excited about new Alzheimer’s study on who will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’ve been in the study for 10 years, so I’ve been through the lumbar puncture the PET scan imaging and psychometric testing,” said Kinney, Senior Director for Client Services at the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Missouri.

“By looking at that spinal fluid, we can identify proteins we know today to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease but we’re also looking at proteins and levels of chemicals and solutions that might tell us more about this disease,” said Dr. Gregory Day, Washington University neurologist.

Kinney is part of the adult study of children of Alzheimer’s patients through Washington University’s School of Medicine.

Kinney has gone through some uncomfortable efforts for the highly necessary research study on memory loss and function.

“With my family history, I wanted to find a way to get involved to see if there was a way to keep future generations from getting it,” she said.

A new $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will ensure the study will continue and the ability to tell who and when someone might get Alzheimer’s, 20 years before it strikes.

“I think we are getting a lot closer to predict who will develop memory and Alzheimer’s disease, but the most important question is when people will develop problems with memory and thinking,” Day said.

Wash U researchers think that the occasional spinal taps that test the spinal fluid will be able to help them tap into the mind, discovering biomarkers of the disease earlier.

“At this point, I would want to know and that’s because I believe we will have a treatment and there are drugs in the pipeline that are getting closer,” Kinney said. “So I have hope and determination that I want to be part of the puzzle. So I would want to know.”


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