2008 Volume 215 Issue 2 Pages 119-124
Dementia, a progressive cognitive decline, leads to a gradually increasing restriction of daily activities. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. The pathological features of AD include plaques and tangles which are constituted by amyloid β peptide (Aβ) and tau protein. These amyloidogenic molecules have been mechanistically implicated in the pathogenesis of AD and related neurodegenerative dementias. The key strategy for establishment of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to AD is sensitive and specific detection of the incipient neuropathology characteristics of AD, combined with emerging treatments that counteract molecular processes in AD pathogenesis. Recent advances in molecular imaging research have enabled visualization of brain amyloidosis. The rapid development of different compounds suitable for visualizing amyloid would permit pathology-specific diagnosis of AD at an asymptomatic stage in a noninvasive manner, and could also allow early immunotherapeutic intervention without causing an excessive neuroinflammatory response.