Blood-Based Marker for Alzheimer’s Disease Shows Diagnostic Potential

Blood-Based Marker for Alzheimer’s Disease Shows Diagnostic Potential

Australian and Japanese researchers have published their findings in the journal Nature detailing how they measured the proportions of different forms of the Alzheimer’s disease-causing protein amyloid protein as a marker of the disease. Amyloid proteins are known to cause Alzheimer’s by aggregating into solid plaques. Detection is possible from spinal fluid and blood of patients, but there hasn’t been a way to reliably diagnose Alzheimer’s from such data.

The research in question attempted to measure select types of the amyloid protein more likely to cause harm. Two cohorts of Japanese and Australian patients were studied, where the proportion of amyloid protein in their blood was measured.

According to Dr. Carol Routledge of the Alzheimer’s Research UK, reliably detecting Alzheimer’s disease proteins in the body is not easy, as the levels can fluctuate due to multiple factors. She goes on to state that the study in question was able to determine the proportions of different amyloid proteins, tying in successfully to PET brain scan data, even though the patients were from different countries. Although the potential for this research could be live-changing for patients, she cautions that more work needs to be done to avoid false results.

Key Points:

  • 1People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have more amyloid in their blood and spinal fluid than healthy people.
  • 2Detecting amyloid protein in the blood suggests a potential new technique to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 3Damaging changes take place in the brain way before symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear.

Researchers found that a measurement that included multiple ratios of blood amyloid type could improve how well they were able to predict the amount of amyloid in the brain on brain scans.

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