The recently announced revision of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnostic ATN classification adds to an already existing disregard for clinical assessment the rejection of image-based in vivo assessment of the brain's condition. The revision suggests that the diagnosis of AD should be based solely on the presence of cerebral amyloid-beta and tau, indicated by the “A” and "T". The "N", which stands for neurodegeneration – detected by imaging – should no longer be given importance, except that A+ ± T + = AD with amyloid PET being the main method for demonstrating A+. We believe this is an artificial and misleading suggestion. It is artificial because it relies on biomarkers whose significance remains obscure and where the detection of “A” is based on a never-validated PET method using a tracer that marks much more than amyloid-beta. It is misleading because many patients without dementia will be falsely classified as having AD, but nonetheless candidates for passive immunotherapy, which may be more harmful than beneficial, and sometimes fatal.
- ATN classification
- Alzheimer's disease