Blood test for Alzheimer’s

An inexpensive, convenient test for Alzheimer’s may be closer than you think. Previous studies undertaken for this purpose have produced results which other scientists were unable to replicate, making the studies redundant.

But a new study in the USA has come up with a group of markers which hold up to statistical analysis in three independent groups of patients. 600 participants had different protein levels in their blood measured. The participants included healthy volunteers, those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is thought to be a precursor to Alzheimer’s.

The levels of four different proteins were significantly different in people with Alzheimer’s and MCI, compared to the healthy participants, suggesting that a blood test for these two diseases may be possible.

Currently Alzheimer’s is diagnosed mainly by looking at clinical symptoms. Additional information can be gathered through the use of an expensive PET scan or a painful spinal tap analysis, neither of which is ideal. The four proteins which showed changed levels in the blood of those affected by Alzheimer’s or MCI matched measurements of the same proteins found in the spinal fluid.

Although further research still needs to be done, this study puts us well on the way to developing a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease, which may lead to earlier diagnosis and better management of the condition.

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