Aging of population, and increasing life expectancy result in an increasing number of patients with dementia. This symptom can be a part of a completely curable disease of the central nervous system (e.g, neuroinflammation), or a disease currently considered irreversible (e.g, Alzheimer's disease, AD). In the latter case, several potentially successful treatment approaches are being tested now, demanding reasonable standards of pre-mortem diagnosis. Cerebrospinal fluid and serum analysis (CSF/serum analysis), whereas routinely performed in neuroinflammatory diseases, still requires standardization to be used as an aid to the clinically based diagnosis of AD. Several AD-related CSF parameters (total tau, phosphorylated forms of tau, A beta peptides, ApoE genotype, p97, etc.) tested separately or in a combination provide sensitivity and specificity in the range of 85%, the figure commonly expected from a good diagnostic tool. In this review, recently published reports regarding progress in neurochemical pre-mortem diagnosis of dementias are discussed with a focus on an early and differential diagnosis of AD. Novel perspectives offered by recently introduced technologies, e.g, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS) are briefly discussed.
2009. Vol. 36, 1-16 p.