The cause of Alzheimer's disease is incompletely defined, and no truly effective therapy exists. However, multiple studies have implicated metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, hormonal deficiencies, and hyperhomocysteinemia. Optimizing metabolic parameters in a comprehensive way has yielded cognitive improvement, both in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Therefore, expanding the standard laboratory evaluation in patients with dementia may be revealing. Here I report that metabolic profiling reveals three Alzheimer's disease subtypes. The first is inflammatory, in which markers such as hs-CRP and globulin:albumin ratio are increased. The second type is non-inflammatory, in which these markers are not increased, but other metabolic abnormalities are present. The third type is a very distinctive clinical entity that affects relatively young individuals, extends beyond the typical Alzheimer's disease initial distribution to affect the cortex widely, is characterized by early non-amnestic features such as dyscalculia and aphasia, is often misdiagnosed or labeled atypical Alzheimer's disease, typically affects ApoE4-negative individuals, and is associated with striking zinc deficiency. Given the involvement of zinc in multiple Alzheimer's-related metabolic processes, such as insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, ADAM10 proteolytic activity, and hormonal signaling, this syndrome of Alzheimer's-plus with low zinc (APLZ) warrants further metabolic, genetic, and epigenetic characterization.
Keywords: biomarkers; cognition; dementia; dyscalculia; inflammation; insulin resistance; neurodegeneration.