New blood test may predict Alzheimer’s

Posted under Blog on March 17th, 2014 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A team of researchers from Georgetown University in Washington DC have developed a blood test that they believe can accurately predict the onset of Alzheimer’s.

There are currently around 44 million people living with dementia worldwide and this figure is expected to treble by 2020.

A key priority for researchers is to develop ways of discovering the disease within the brain earlier. Alzheimer’s can be attacking the brain for over a decade before symptoms emerge.

The researchers’ findings have been published this month in Nature Medicine. Experts are excited by the potential of the test but have warned that the results need to be confirmed and tested in larger clinical trials.

The scientists tested blood samples from 525 people over the age of 70 in a five-year study. They took 53 samples of those who developed Alzheimer’s or other mild cognitive decline and compared the blood with 53 healthy samples.

They discovered differences in the levels of ten key fats.  It is thought those ten markers may help predict who is likely to develop mental decline in later years.

It remains unclear what causes the change in fats but it may be a result of early changes taking place in the brain.

Howard Federoff, professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center, said: “I think there is a huge need for a test. But we must look at larger numbers of people before this could be used in clinical practice”.

Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “If confirmed, these results could aid efforts to develop better tools for diagnosing Alzheimer’s – allowing people with the disease to access crucial support and existing treatments sooner”.

Tags: Alzheimer's, Blood test, dementia, Nature Medicine



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