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With the help of an Alzheimer's blood test, early detection could be significantly improved
The news of the possible development of a blood test for Alzheimer's early detection has caused a sensation not only in the medical community. Scientists at London's King's College, together with the biotech company Proteome Sciences, have identified "a set of 10 proteins in the blood that can predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease." This is a "significant step towards the development of a blood test" for the early detection of Alzheimer's, according to the message from King's College.
As the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's is characterized by progressive death of the brain cells, which leads to considerable cognitive impairments. The increasing loss of memory or forgetfulness is particularly noticeable, but language problems, listlessness and emerging depression can also be related to the disease. Those affected find it increasingly difficult to find their way in everyday life and are dependent on care around the clock in the late stages. The death of the brain cells is caused by certain protein deposits in the brain, but the symptoms only appear when Alzheimer's disease has already progressed relatively far.
Hope for improved treatment options
As no effective long-term drug treatment of Alzheimer's disease has been possible and only the course of the disease can be significantly delayed, early diagnosis is of particular importance. "It is also believed that many new clinical trials fail because medication is used too late in the course of the disease," reports King's College London. A blood test for Alzheimer's early detection could therefore significantly improve the treatment options. The British researchers therefore started looking for proteins that could be recognized early in the blood of Alzheimer's patients. They used the data from three international studies with blood samples from a total of 1,148 people (476 Alzheimer's patients, 220 subjects with mild cognitive impairments and 452 subjects without dementia). Here they looked for connections between the development of Alzheimer's disease and 26 previously narrowed risk proteins.
Blood test with high accuracy
The researchers identified 16 of the 26 proteins that were strongly associated with brain shrinkage in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's, reports King's College London. In a second series of tests, the researchers determined "which of these proteins could predict the progression from MCI to Alzheimer's." They identified a combination of 10 proteins that could be used to predict with 87% certainty whether people with MCI would be in the next Year develop an Alzheimer's disease. The study's lead author, Dr. Abdul Hye of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London said that a number of proteins are now known “that can predict with a high degree of accuracy whether someone with early memory loss symptoms or mild cognitive impairment will be able to predict within a year will develop an Alzheimer's disease. "
Hope for the development of new Alzheimer's drugs
Professor Simon Lovestone, senior author of the study from the University of Oxford, hopes that the new possibilities for early Alzheimer's detection will also have advantages for the development of new drugs. Because "many of our drug trials fail because the brain has already broken down too much at the time of medication," says Lovestone. Here, a simple blood test could help bring patients to treatment much earlier. In further studies, the accuracy of the blood test should now be further improved and the risk of misdiagnosis reduced in order to develop a reliable test that can be used in practice by doctors. As the population is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years as the population ages, it is important to explore new ways to intervene at an early stage of the disease and to ensure that those affected maintain their quality of life for as long as possible enable, emphasized Dr. Eric Karran from the research center "Alzheimer's Research UK". (fp)
Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de