Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Blood test for Alzheimer's gaining ground

The possibility of an inexpensive, convenient test for Alzheimer's disease has been on the horizon for several years, but previous research leads have been hard to duplicate.

In a study to be published in the August 28 issue of the journal Neurology, scientists have taken a step toward developing a blood test for Alzheimer's, finding a group of markers that hold up in statistical analyses in three independent groups of patients.

"Reliability and failure to replicate initial results have been the biggest challenge in this field," says lead author William Hu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine. "We demonstrate here that it is possible to show consistent findings."

Hu and his collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University, St. Louis, measured the levels of 190 proteins in the blood of 600 study participants at those institutions. Study participants included healthy volunteers and those who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI, often considered a harbinger for Alzheimer's disease, causes a slight but measurable decline in cognitive abilities.

A subset of the 190 protein levels (17) were significantly different in people with MCI or Alzheimer's. When those markers were checked against data from 566 people participating in the multicenter Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, only four markers remained: apolipoprotein E, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein and pancreatic polypeptide.

Changes in levels of these four proteins in blood also correlated with measurements from the same patients of the levels of proteins [beta-amyloid] in cerebrospinal fluid that previously have been connected with Alzheimer's. The analysis grouped together people with MCI, who are at high risk of developing Alzheimer's, and full Alzheimer's.

"We were looking for a sensitive signal," says Hu. "MCI has been hypothesized to be an early phase of AD, and sensitive markers that capture the physiological changes in both MCI and AD would be most helpful clinically."

"The specificity of this panel still needs to be determined, since only a small number of patients with non-AD dementias were included," Hu says. "In addition, the differing proportions of patients with MCI in each group make it more difficult to identify MCI- or AD-specific changes."

Neurologists currently diagnose Alzheimer's disease based mainly on clinical symptoms. Additional information can come from PET brain imaging, which tends to be expensive, or analysis of a spinal tap, which can be painful.

"Though a blood test to identify underlying Alzheimer's disease is not quite ready for prime time given today's technology, we now have identified ways to make sure that a test will be reliable," says Hu. "In the meantime, the combination of a clinical exam and cerebrospinal fluid analysis remains the best tool for diagnosis in someone with mild memory or cognitive troubles."

Hu's research began while he was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Collaborators included David Holtzman, MD, from Washington University at St Louis, Leslie Shaw, PhD and John Trojanowski, MD, PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and Holly Soares, PhD from Bristol Myers Squibb.

The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is administered by UCLA, and is supported by the National Institutes of Health and several pharmaceutical companies. Hu's research is supported by the Viretta Brady Discovery Fund.

Reference: W.T. Hu et al. Plasma multianalyte profiling in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. Neurology 79, 897-905 (2012).

Kerry Ludlam | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Taming chaos: Calculating probability in complex systems

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>