14 October 2008. Interest in families stricken with autosomal-dominant Alzheimer disease has intensified in the past few years. Scientists not only acknowledge that these families deserve special care and attention, but also realize that their presymptomatic carriers represent a unique opportunity to work toward future prevention efforts (see eFAD section on Alzforum). Now a research center in Barcelona, Spain, has set up a study that reaches out specifically to this small population. The study invites relatives of families in whom one member has an identified mutation causing either Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal dementia, or a prion disease. Study participants must allow the scientists to conduct a confidential genetic test for research purposes but can choose whether to be informed of their genetic status or not. Led by Raquel Sanchez-Valle, Unidad de Alzheimer y otros trastornos cognitivos, Barcelona, Spain, this study receives funding from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, from the Spanish Ministry of Health, and the hospital clinic. The study expects 10 subjects per group to join, but is able to include more people who express interest and meet inclusion criteria. Sanchez-Valle and colleagues will begin enrolling in November 2008.
Her study joins a handful of existing similar studies in the U.S. and the U.K. It starts up right as some of those older studies have banded together to create an international network of families with autosomal-dominant AD. For details of the new Spanish study, see the eFAD studies list.—Gabrielle Strobel.