The research community now has a new framework toward developing a biologically-based definition of Alzheimer’s disease. This proposed “biological construct” is based on measurable changes in the brain and is expected to facilitate better understanding of the disease process and the sequence of events that lead to cognitive impairment and dementia. With this construct, researchers can study Alzheimer’s, from its earliest biological underpinnings to outward signs of memory loss and other clinical symptoms, which could result in a more precise and faster approach to testing drug and other interventions.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) convened the effort, which as the “NIA-AA Research Framework: Towards a Biological Definition of Alzheimer’s Disease,” appears in the April 10, 2018 edition of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Drafts were presented at several scientific meetings and offered online, where the committee developing the framework gathered comments and ideas which informed the final published document. The framework, as it undergoes testing and as new knowledge becomes available, will be updated in the future.