Pathological correlates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease
Although Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been investigated for more than 100 years, it was not until the 60s that quantitative measures of the disease progression and severity in relation to function and neuropathology were made by Blessed and his colleagues. With the increasing understanding of the pathological changes of AD that take place, there is growing interest in identifying which pathological marker most reliably predicts the dementia and the cognitive profile. Markers of pathology that have been investigated include senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, synaptic loss, and neurochemical changes. Many clinical measures have been evaluated as well including Clinical Dementia Rating, Mini Mental State Examination, and Functional Assessment Staging as ways of both predicting the presence of pathological changes of AD as well as correlating with the specific measures of pathology. Accumulation of neuropathology appears to correlate with functional, global, and cognitive decline as people progress through AD. This review will summarize evidence of which neuropathologkal change correlates robustly with cognitive decline and which cognitive index predicts pathological changes in AD. In general, tangles and synaptic loss are better correlates of cognitive decline and correlate better.
Thind, K. and Sabbagh, M. N., "Pathological correlates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease" (2007). Neurology. 978.