Researchers at Georgetown University in Washington DC claim to have devised a new blood test which promises to be able to predict the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease onset with 90% accuracy.
The test is based on the levels of 10 fats in the blood. The researchers analysed blood samples from 525 people over the age of 70 for five years. They found differences in the levels of 10 lipids, between 53 subjects who developed Alzheimer’s Disease or mild cognitive impairment compared with those from another 53 people who remained mentally agile. Using these biomarkers it may be possible to predict which people will suffer from mental decline in coming years.
The sample size of this research was quite small, so larger clinical trials are planned. It is not known what causes the change in fats in the blood. A test able to predict Alzheimer’s Disease and / or other forms of dementia successfully could transform medical research (and ultimately treatments), as has been discussed elsewhere.
Gallagher, J. (2014). Blood test can predict Alzheimer’s, say researchers. London: BBC Health News, March 9th 2014.
This subject is explored further, and put into perspective, by an NHS Choices Behind the Headlines critical appraisal:
Claims new blood test can detect Alzheimer’s disease. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, March 10th 2014.
See also, an early GUMC press release:
Blood test identifies those at-risk for cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s within 3 years. Georgetown [USA]: Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), March 9th 2014.
This relates to:
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Mapstone, M. Cheema, AK. [and] Fiandaca, MS. (2014). [et al] (2014). Plasma phospholipids identify antecedent memory impairment in older adults. Nature Medicine, March 9th 2014. [Epub ahead of print]. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).