There Alzheimer’s disease could it soon be diagnosed by a simple blood test? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States have developed a blood test capable of accurately determining the presence of the disease in a patient.
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease remains difficult to diagnose. To detect this neurodegenerative disease, three markers must be identified: abnormal accumulations of amyloid and Tau proteins, and neurodegeneration, or the progressive loss of neuronal cells in specific regions of the brain. Tests carried out using a cerebral MRI and/or an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) taken by lumbar puncture in the lower back. Problem: Despite their effectiveness, brain imaging techniques are expensive and waiting times are often long, even in an emergency. Lumbar puncture can be invasive and painful, causing headaches and lower back pain.
This blood test could therefore be more accessible and above all, detect the disease earlier. “A blood test is cheaper, safer and easier to administer, and it may improve clinical confidence in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.”told the Guardian Professor Thomas Karikari, from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States, who participated in the study.
Improving future treatments
However, while blood tests have proven to be highly accurate in detecting amyloid and tau protein abnormalities, detecting markers of brain neuronal cell damage has been more complicated. The researchers therefore developed an antibody-based blood test that would detect a particular form of Tau protein, derived from the brain and specific to Alzheimer’s disease.
Read also:Alzheimer’s: 10 daily habits that increase the risk
According to the results – from tests on 600 patients at different stages of Alzheimer’s disease – published Dec. 27 in the journal Brain, protein levels correlated well with CSF tau levels and could reliably and accurately distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from other forms of dementia. They were also consistent with data collected from brain tissue from people who died of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers now want to validate the test on a larger number of patients, of various racial origins and those suffering from potential dementia symptoms such as memory loss. A test that could in the long run improve diagnosis and potentially future treatments.
- Brain-derived tau: a novel blood-based biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease-type neurodegeneration, BrainDecember 27, 2022
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