New Blood Test May Offer Hope for Early Alzheimer’s Detection

New research published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia suggests that a blood test to predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) might be one step closer to reality. About 10 to 15 percent of people with MCI develop Alzheimer’s disease within one year of diagnosis, but doctors typically can’t predict who will develop dementia and who will not. A blood test for early detection of Alzheimer’s could allow patients to begin treatments sooner and, potentially, lessen the impact of the disease.

Scientists at King’s College London led by Simon Lovestone have identified a panel of 10 blood proteins that helped to predict with nearly 90 percent accuracy which patients with MCI would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The investigators used blood samples from over 1,100 healthy people and patients with MCI and Alzheimer’s. Their results still need to be validated in larger groups of people. 

While this research focused on specific blood proteins, other blood tests being investigated for Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis or prediction focus on blood lipids (fats) and small molecules in blood that reflect the functioning of various metabolic pathways. ADDF-funded investigator Dr.  Eugenia Trushina at Mayo Clinic is developing a diagnostic blood test for people with MCI at risk of developing dementia from Alzheimer’s that is based on “metabolomics”, which present a snapshot of metabolic processes relevant to Alzheimer's disease.

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