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 Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>