You are here

Study: Blood test can predict Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Your Daily Health
Alzheimer’s, caused by toxic proteins that destroy brain cells, is a currently incurable and fatal degenerative disease.

PARIS—Researchers in the United States say they have developed a prototype blood test that can tell with 90-per cent accuracy whether a healthy person will develop Alzheimer’s disease within three years.


The test looks for 10 signatures of fatty proteins called lipids, according to a study published on Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine.


It could help families of people developing the cognitive disorder make early decisions on how best to care for them and may also aid the search for treatment, the authors said.


Several years of clinical trials are likely to be needed to assess the prototype technique, the first blood “biomarker” to predict the tragic degenerative disease.


Alzheimer’s, caused by toxic proteins that destroy brain cells, is a currently incurable and fatal degenerative disease.


Around 35 million people have the disease, a tally that is expected to reach 115 million people by 2050, according to the World Health Organization.


View gallery


Fact file on Alzheimer's disease


Fact file on Alzheimer’s disease (AFP Photo/)


“Our novel blood test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder,” said Howard Federoff, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington.


It could also help efforts to treat the disease, he said in a press release.


Attempts to develop drugs for Alzheimer’s have failed possibly because they are tested when the disease has progressed too far, Federoff said.


These treatments may have a better chance of braking or reversing the disease if they are trialled at a much earlier stage, he said.


The researchers started by taking blood samples from 525 healthy volunteers aged 70 and older.


Three years later, they looked at a group of 53 volunteers who had developed symptoms of early Alzheimer’s or a memory-affecting condition known as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).


The blood samples from this group were compared against the samples from 53 otherwise healthy volunteers to see what the difference was.


From this, the scientists spotted the 10 telltale lipid proteins, which appear to be metabolised residues of brain cell membranes. (AFP)


User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff.

Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.

Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments.

Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.

Before posting, please refer to the Community Standards, Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy

User profiles registered through fake social media accounts may be deleted without notice.