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Introduction of Chinese Familial Alzheimer's Disease Network (CFAN)

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of cognitive disorders among the aged population. The prevalence of AD among the people aged 65 years and older is approximately 4%~7%. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the AD patients around the world will be 80 millions in 2040. There are 9 millions AD patients in China, which is the country with the largest amount of AD patients in the world. It is expected that there will be more than 20 millions AD patients in China in 2050. Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) accounts for approximately 5% of all AD cases. Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) is characterized by at least two first-degree affected relatives with Alzheimer's disease in two or more successive generations, which is suggestive of an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. Currently, three genes – amyloid precursor protein(APP), presenilin 1(PSEN1)and presenilin 2(PSEN2)have been verified as the causative genes of FAD.

Asymptomatic FAD gene mutations carriers harbor AD neuropathological features even 10~20 years before the onset of symptoms and will invariably develop dementia. Genetic screening will help to identify asymptomatic causative mutation carriers. Long-term follow up of asymptomatic mutation carriers will help to reveal the trajectory of AD progress, and make the potential milestone breakthrough on early diagnosis and treatment of AD. Thus this population could benefit from our effort.

Chinese Familial Alzheimer's Disease Network (CFAN) is the first national wide registry research on FAD in China. It is sponsored by National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Key Project of Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Plan of Beijing Hospital Authority.

The objectives of CFAN are:

1. To establish a research platform and database for FAD in China.

2. To investigate the prevalence of FAD in China.

3. To explore the causative mutations and pathogenesis of FAD.

4. To identify and verify diagnostic biomarkers for pre-dementia stage of AD.

5. To carry out clinical trials of disease-modifying drugs in prodromal AD individuals.

6. To establish intervention plan for asymptomatic mutation carriers of FAD.

7. To establish genetic counseling model for FAD.