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Neurofilament light chain predicts future dementia risk in cerebral small vessel disease
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  • Published on:
    Blood neurofilament light chain and cognitive progression in neurological disorders

    There have been some studies investigating blood neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels as predictors of cognitive functions decline in neurological disorders. I want to discuss here the association between blood NfL levels and neuroaxonal damage in patients with brain damages including Alzheimer's disease and stroke by considering the underlying mechanisms.

    First, Egle et al. reported that baseline increased serum NfL levels could predict cognitive decline and the risk of converting to dementia in a cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), but there was no change in serum NfL levels over a 5-year follow-up period [1]. The lack of dynamic changes of NfL in stroke stand in contrast to neurodegenerative disease, and serum NfL levels may not be used as a surrogate marker for monitoring cognitive impairment in patients with SVD. In contrast, Stokowskaet et al. examined plasma NfL levels for the prediction of functional improvement in the late phase after stroke [2]. The odds ratios (ORs) (95% confidence intervals [CIs]) of elevated plasma NfL levels for the improvement in balance and gait improvement were 2.34 (1.35-4.27) and 2.27 (1.25-4.32), respectively. In addition, OR (95% CI) of elevated plasma NfL levels for cognitive improvement was 7.54 (1.52-45.66), which was also verified by intervention trial. This study presented the usefulness of plasma NfL levels as a biomarker of physical and psychological function after stroke events. As there is a wide range of 95% CI...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.