The Alzheimer Research Foundation has awarded Erik Portelius, researcher at Sweden’s Gothenburg University and member of Swedish Brain Power, the European Grand Prix for Young Researcher for his findings on a new biomarker that enables earlier detection of the disease.
This new biomarker, a protein called neurogranin, paves the way for a better understanding of the disease. It allows doctors to estimate the extent of the damage to patients’ synapses and also to predict the rate of cognitive decline in patients with mild cognitive impairment. By measuring the new biomarker, the disease can be detected at an earlier stage than previously, since the loss of synapses is believed to occur early in the disease process, perhaps even earlier than neuronal loss. Until now, the degree of neuronal loss has been a difficult thing to identify in Alzheimer’s sufferers.
The measurement of neurogranin, which will soon be implemented as part of a routine clinical analysis at the Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory in Gothenburg, Sweden, involves extracting cerebrospinal fluid during a harmless lumbar puncture or spinal tap, which is then tested for the neurogranin protein.
The objective of the Foundation for Research on Alzheimer Disease is to contribute to the development of research in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. As part of its efforts to achieve this objective, the Foundation wishes to award an annual prize called the European Grand Prix for Young Researcher-SCOR which is designed to support and encourage a young researcher whose research projects are promising.