Combination of amyloid and tau is a key driver to cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease

Example PET scans
The scans in this image show positive (elevated protein deposits) and negative (non-elevated protein deposits) amyloid and tau tangle PET scans.

A study examining more than 150 volunteer participants from WRAP found individuals with elevated levels of amyloid and tau proteins in the brain exhibited a cognitive decline rate three times faster than those with just one or no elevated biomarker levels.

These participants engaged in cognitive performance tests as a part of the longitudinal WRAP study, and this information was compared to Alzheimer’s disease biomarker levels in the brain.

Though cognitive decline was found to be linked to the presence of both amyloid and tau biomarkers, other middle-age health factors like blood pressure and insulin levels did not differ between those with or without elevated amyloid and/or tau. Follow-up analyses are currently underway to determine the potential relationships between these health factors and cognitive decline in the presence or absence of amyloid and tau biomarkers. These findings may have impact on Alzheimer’s disease drug trails, many of which target amyloid build-up in the brain, but may not target both amyloid and tau proteins.

Read details about the study on the Wisconsin ADRC news page.

Listen in: Listen to a Dementia Matters Podcast episode about the study with an interview of Tobey Betthauser, PhD, lead scientist on the study.