The importance of early diagnosis in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment

Older lady concentrating
Alzheimer's disease (AD), Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers (CSF) can support an early and accurate diagnosis of AD and MCI1

By 2050, the number of people affected by dementia is projected to reach 152 million worldwide1

Dementia affects millions of people worldwide and is expected to triple by 2050.2 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-80% of cases.3

In 2015 the overall global cost of dementia was already USD 818 billion and is expected to increase to USD 2 trillion in 2030.2


Early diagnosis can benefit patients and society as a whole4


Confirming a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is important and often a relief for the individual and their loved ones.  Receiving a diagnosis early enables patients to make changes to their diet and lifestyles which may slow the decline in their cognitive functions.1


In 2018, a mathematical model commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association showed that the potential cost savings resulting from an early diagnosis of AD and MCI in medical and care costs could be USD 7.9 trillion by 2025.4


Biomarkers support early diagnosis of MCI and AD5


Two of the main hallmark signs of AD are the "plaques" and "tangles" that develop in the brain, caused by the build-up of, respectively, amyloid and tau proteins.6 The accumulation of amyloid beta and tau starts decades prior to symptom onset.5

CSF biomarkers support early and accurate diagnosis of MCI and AD, as these biomarkers reflect the specific pathological accumulation of amyloid beta in plaques and tau in neurofibrillary tangles.7

Amyloid beta (1-42) (Abeta42), phosphorylated tau (pTau) and total Tau (tTau) CSF biomarkers have been used in the research field for over 20 years.6 In 2018, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Alzheimer's Association (NIA-AA) has proposed a new research framework which includes Abeta 42, pTau and tTau CSF biomarkers as core biomarkers to aid in the diagnosis of MCI and AD.6

New eLearning series

New eLearning series: Advancing diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease

An interactive educational course exploring the clinical value of standardised CSF testing to support a timely diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, featuring insights from world-renowned experts.

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  1. Alzhiemer’s research UK [internet; cited 2022 July] Available from:,Africa%20and%20the%20Middle%20east.
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease International. World Alzheimer Report 2018. Available at:
  3. Alzheimer's association. [internet; cited 2022 July] Available from:
  4. Alzheimer’s Association. 2018 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimer's Dement 2018; 14(3): 367-429.
  5. Agamanolis D et al. (2016) Available at:
  6. Jack CR et al. Alzheimers & Dement 2018; 14,535-562
  7. Jack CR Jr, et al. Lancet Neurol 2010;9:119–28