Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease: Deficits in Learning Appear Before Memory Impairment, Upcoming Webinar Hosted by Xtalks

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In this free webinar, the featured speaker will discuss current models of the nature and magnitude of deficits in memory in the preclinical stage of AD and explain how the measurement of learning differs from the measurement of memory in humans who are both healthy and those with, or at increased risk for, AD. Attendees will learn about frameworks for understanding the meaning of deficits in learning in the context of very early or preclinical AD.

There is now conjecture that disease-modifying therapies for AD may be most effective in the preclinical stages of the illness and therefore drug development programs are focusing on this stage of the disease.

In 2020, researchers found that a dysfunction in learning presents as a very large sign of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) related biology. Importantly, even when memory dysfunction can be detected in early AD, the magnitude is substantially smaller than the learning dysfunction observed. This observation opens an entirely new method for understanding clinical pathological relationships in preclinical AD.

Led by Dr. Yen Ying Lim (Turner Institute, Monash University) and Dr. Paul Maruff (Cogstate), the research team developed a novel test paradigm that required older adults to learn the English language terms for a set of 50 different Chinese characters. Analyses of the learning curves showed that in older adults with normal levels of amyloid, the acquisition of the novel information proceeded in accord with the learning curves described initially by Ebbinghaus with performance improving at a faster rate over initial learning trials and then becoming asymptotic at longer intervals.

Compared to healthy older adults, the preclinical AD group matched on age, sex and education levels showed that while learning of the Chinese characters did improve, the rate of learning was reduced substantially. These results were interpreted as indicating that in preclinical AD there is a reduced level to benefit from novel experience.

There is now conjecture that disease-modifying therapies for AD may be most effective in the preclinical stages of the illness and therefore drug development programs are focusing on this stage of the disease.

Join Paul Maruff, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer, Cogstate in a live webinar on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 11am EDT (4pm BST/UK) to hear an expert from Cogstate describe the methods the research team used and expound on the implications of these important findings.

For more information, or to register for this event, visit Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease: Deficits in Learning Appear Before Memory Impairment.

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Sydney Perelmutter
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