Applied NeuroSolutions (Vernon Hills, Illinois) said that according to a study soon to be published in Neurobiology of Aging, an increase in a specific, abnormal brain protein appears to herald the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

The study noted a correlation between the increasing levels of the tau protein in the brain with a rise in the severity of dementia and cognitive impairment. This increased level appeared prior to the development of neurofibrillary tangles, the hallmark lesions of AD. The study analyzed post-mortem brain tissue samples of 81 people, ranging from those with no indication of cognitive impairment to those diagnosed with AD.

Applied NeuroSolutions is seeking to commercialize a diagnostic test to detect AD that measures the amount of an abnormal protein, p-tau 231. It said that in testing of nearly 3,500 samples, the assay has proven to be 85% to 95% sensitive and specific in detecting AD.