Welcome to the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease Call for Papers

PLOS ONE Guest Editors –

Michael Weiner

Roberta Brinton

Jussi Tohka

Yona Levites

– Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: A PLOS ONE Call for Papers –  


As the aging population continues to grow, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is expected to rise. The disease incurs enormous economic and social costs and represents a major public health burden. The high social impact of AD is partly due to the fact that no known cure exists, with existing treatments being largely palliative.

The impact of AD may be lessened by timely diagnosis, allowing access to care pathways and enabling planning for advanced care. Whilst early diagnosis of the disease remains challenging, a number of research approaches have shown promise in addressing this critical need. Current diagnostics of AD include clinical evaluation and psychological tests. In addition, research has shown the value of examining biological markers such as structural changes within the brain measured with MRI, detecting amyloid and tau with PET scans, and measuring a variety of proteins including amyloid in blood plasma. Further work in this area is required to establish reliable diagnostics that can be easily implemented into routine clinical practice.

The ability to diagnose AD at its early stages is likely a prerequisite for the successful implementation of novel disease-modifying treatments. To date no such therapies exist. Whilst reversing the damage caused by the disease will likely prove difficult, there is hope that novel treatments will be able to prevent or retard the progression of symptoms and deterioration in quality of life that is characteristic of the disease. Research is required at all stages of the pipeline to identify potential drug targets and novel treatments for the disease.

Bringing earlier diagnoses and effective treatments to patients will require collaboration of researchers across multiple fields. The broad scope of PLOS ONE facilitates publication of the interdisciplinary research necessary to address the high social impact of this disease.

With this Call-for-Papers PLOS ONE invites you to submit your latest research on the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. We welcome submissions across all disciplines, including basic research, translational studies in animal models and studies in patient populations.

We particularly welcome submissions on:

  • Plasma analysis of disease-relevant proteins including amyloid, tau, and neurofilament light.
  • Novel biomarkers of AD.
  • In silico and in vitro approaches to identify potential drug targets for the treatment of AD.
  • Mechanistic research on the progression of AD, which may inform future therapeutics.
  • Differences in therapeutic targets and response to treatment based on the stage of the disease
  • Clinical trials reporting on the efficacy of novel interventions for AD.
  • Sex differences in disease progression and response to treatment.
  • Improvement and refinement of neuroimaging techniques, with relevance to the early detection of AD.
  • Machine-learning based approaches to improve early diagnosis of AD and particularly approaches that combine different types of data (clinical, neuropsychological, imaging, blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers).
  • Research contributing towards a potential blood test for AD, including potential plasma biomarkers and utility of polygenic risk scores.
  • Novel therapeutic approaches, specifically immunotherapy against novel epitopes or conformations on Abeta or tau, for early intervention.

Articles should be submitted by September 19, 2019. Accepted articles that fall into the scope described above will be included in a Collection that will be published in early 2020. When submitting, please specify in your cover letter that you are submitting to “Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease” Call for Papers.  

Meet the PLOS ONE Editors

Michael Weiner

University of California San Francisco, USA

Guest Editor, PLOS ONE 

Michael (Mike) W. Weiner has been doing research for over 50 years. After a B.S. degree from Johns Hopkins University, he received his M.D. from Upstate Medical Center, completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Yale University and was Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin he moved to Stanford University where he won the Young Investigator Award of the American College of Cardiology.  In 1980 he performed one of the first whole-animal NMR experiments and began a new career using NMR (which became MRI) for clinical research. He began studying Alzheimer’s Disease with MRI/MRS in 1989. He is the Principle Investigator of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and the Brain Health Registry. He has been awarded the VA Middleton Award, the Nancy and Ronald Reagan Award from the Alzheimer’s Association and the Potemkin Prize from the American Association of Neurology.

Competing Interests: Dr. Weiner receives support for his work from Siemens, Biogen, Hillblom Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association and governmental sources. He also receives support from Johnson & Johnson, Kevin and Connie Shanahan, GE and higher education establishments. Dr. Weiner is the Principal Investigator of the Brain Health Registry, and many other projects with the above grant funding, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Articles submitted to the call using these data will be considered for inclusion in the Collection by the other Guest Editors.

He has served on Advisory Boards for Eli Lilly, Cerecin/Accera, Roche, Alzheon, Inc., Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Nestle/Nestec, PCORI/PPRN and Dolby Family Ventures. He has provided consulting and/or acted as a speaker/lecturer to Cerecin/Accera, Inc., Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), Merck, BioClinica, Eli Lilly, Nestle/Nestec, Roche, Genentech, Lynch Group GLC, Health & Wellness Partners and Bionest Partners. He holds stock options with Alzheon, Inc. The following entities have provided funding for academic travel; Kenes, Intl., Merck, ADCS, Eli Lilly, The Alzheimer’s Association, Merck, AC Immune, alongside a number of universities.

Roberta Brinton

The University of Arizona, USA

Guest Editor, PLOS ONE 

Dr. Roberta Brinton is the inaugural Director of the UA Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences and Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona. The Center for Innovation in Brain Science is focused on mechanistically driven therapeutic development and translational research for age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. Her research has focused broadly on the mechanisms underlying late onset Alzheimer’s and developing therapeutics to prevent, delay and cure the disease. Towards that goal, Dr. Brinton leads three programs of discovery research and two programs of translational and clinical research. Her discovery research programs focus on systems biology of: 1) Mechanisms underlying risk of Alzheimer’s during female brain aging; 2) Sex differences in mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s and 3) Regeneration and repair mechanisms to regenerate the Alzheimer’s brain.

Fundamental insights that have emerged from her research group indicate that the aging brain is dynamic and adaptive. The dynamic adaptive nature of the aging brain has led to an increasing focus on transition states of the aging brain, their plasticity, limits and vulnerability. Dr. Brinton has advanced basic science discoveries into FDA IND-enabling translational programs and two early phase clinical trials. These programs of research are supported by the National Institute on Aging (R01, P01, U01, U54) and by philanthropic foundations. Teams that Dr. Brinton leads include basic, translational and clinical scientists and technology transfer professionals.

Competing Interests: None

Jussi Tohka

University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Guest Editor, PLOS ONE 

Jussi Tohka is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Image Analysis and head of Biomedical Image Analysis Group at A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences of University of Eastern Finland. His research focuses on developing new methods to analyze imaging data and developing machine learning approaches for predicting the course of brain diseases at individual level.  He received his PhD degree (with commendation) in Signal Processing from the Tampere University of Technology, Finland, in 2003.  He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, and thereafter held various research positions – including a highly regarded Academy of Finland research fellow position - at the Department of Signal Processing, Tampere University of Technology, Finland until being affiliated with Universidad Carlos III de Madrid as CONEX professor in 2015 - 2016.  He has published over 90 full-length research articles in refereed international journals or conferences and supervised 8 PhD theses to completion.  Several software tools developed by him and his team are in wide use in medical imaging laboratories around the world. 

Competing Interests: None

Yona Levites

University of Florida, USA

Guest Editor, PLOS ONE 

Dr. Yona Levites is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Department of Neuroscience and a member of Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases. She received her Ph.D. in Biotechnology and Neurosciences at the Technion Institute in Haifa, Israel, where she worked on natural antioxidants from green tea as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. She then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and later joined CTRND at UF. Her research involves generation of anti-amyloid and anti-tau single-chain variable fragments and administering them to various neurodegenerative disease animal models via Adeno-Associated virus mediated gene transfer. She is a recipient of Bright Focus Foundation and Alzheimer’s Association grants, an author of near 40 original articles and reviews and a named co-inventor on two patents. Dr. Levites has served as a PLOS ONE reviewer for over 8 years.

Competing interests: Yona Levites is named as a co-inventor on two pending patents (UF#-16620 (222110-2620) and UF#-17075 (222110-2630)​), which describe anti-Tau antibodies and the sequencing of their unique binding regions.

PLOS ONE Handling Editors

Michelle Adams Wataru Araki Thomas Arendt Michel Baudry
Antony Bayer Federico Bilotta Erin Bouldin Patricia Brocardo
Kewei Chen Rita Chen Mária Deli Stavros Dimitriadis
Yong Fan Massimo Filippi Sheila Fleming Danijela Gnjidic
Daqing Guo Christian Holscher Yuankai Huo Koichi Iijima
Kensaku Kasuga YoungSoo Kim Firas Kobeissy Madepalli Lakshmana
Claudio Liguori Mingxia Liu Val Lowe Prabodhika Mallikaratchy
Markus Morawski Sid O'Bryant Shigehiko Ogoh Aurel Popa-Wagner
Chongzhao Ran Tarek Rajji Hemachandra Reddy Yi Su
Soile Tapio Charlotte Teunissen Ghanim Ullah Dionna Williams
Jingwen Yan Marta Zagrebelsky Han Zhang Yun Zhou


PLOS ONE Papers Illustrating the Collection Scope

MicroRNA Profiling of CSF Reveals Potential Biomarkers to Detect Alzheimer`s Disease

Authors: Johannes Denk, Kai Boelmans, Christine Siegismund, Dirk Lassner, Sönke Arlt, Holger Jahn

Published: May 20, 2015

Predicting Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's Dementia Using Clinical, MRI, and Plasma Biomarkers via Probabilistic Pattern Classification

Authors: Igor O. Korolev , Laura L. Symonds, Andrea C. Bozoki, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Published: February 22, 2016

7,8-Dihydroxyflavone, a Small Molecule TrkB Agonist, Improves Spatial Memory and Increases Thin Spine Density in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer Disease-Like Neuronal Loss

Authors: Nicholas A. Castello, Michael H. Nguyen, Jenny D. Tran, David Cheng, Kim N. Green, Frank M. LaFerla

Published: March 10, 2014

Alzheimer's Therapeutics Targeting Amyloid Beta 1–42 Oligomers II: Sigma-2/PGRMC1 Receptors Mediate Abeta 42 Oligomer Binding and Synaptotoxicity

Authors: Nicholas J. Izzo, Jinbin Xu, Chenbo Zeng, Molly J. Kirk, Kelsie Mozzoni, Colleen Silky, Courtney Rehak, Raymond Yurko, Gary Look, Gilbert Rishton, Hank Safferstein, Carlos Cruchaga, Alison Goate, Michael A. Cahill, Ottavio Arancio, Robert H. Mach, Rolf Craven, Elizabeth Head, Harry LeVine III, Tara L. Spires-Jones, Susan M. Catalano

Published: November 12, 2014/p>


The Effect of Souvenaid on Functional Brain Network Organisation in Patients with Mild Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomised Controlled Study

Authors: Hanneke de Waal, Cornelis J. Stam, Marieke M. Lansbergen, Rico L. Wieggers, Patrick J. G. H. Kamphuis, Philip Scheltens, Fernando Maestú, Elisabeth C. W. van Straaten

Published: January 27, 2014



Publishing Process

We aim to be as transparent as possible about our publishing and peer review processes. Papers submitted to PLOS ONE and under consideration for the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease Collection will be specially handled by hand-selected active researchers from our Editorial Board working in this area, in partnership with staff editor George Vousden.


Submission Instructions

Are you ready to submit or want to learn more about how the submission process works? To make it as easy as possible for our communities, we have all of our submission instructions posted online. If there are any details you can’t find, please email us at

When submitting to the Collection, select the Article Type “Research Article” and enter “Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease” in the Collections field in the Additional Information section of the submission form. Please also specify that you are submitting to the Collection “Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease” in your cover letter. 


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