Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Blood test could diagnose Alzheimer's disease, UT Southwestern researchers find

A set of proteins found in blood serum shows promise as a sensitive and accurate way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found as part of a statewide study.

An analysis of the proteins, plus a clinical exam, proved 94 percent accurate in detecting suspected Alzheimer's and 84 percent accurate in ruling it out in people without the disease, the researchers said.

"This research uses a novel technology that makes it possible to analyze several biomarkers in a single blood sample in a cost-effective way," said Dr. Ramón Díaz-Arrastia, professor of neurology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study which was published in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Researchers have been seeking a simple blood test for Alzheimer's for years, Dr. Díaz-Arrastia said, but no single substance, or "biomarker," has been shown to be useful. Such a test, he said, would be comparable in principle to measuring blood cholesterol as a biomarker of cardiovascular disease.

Alzheimer's disease is an incurable degenerative brain disease, which currently afflicts about 5.3 million people over 65 in the U.S., according to the National Alzheimer's Association. By 2050 that number is expected to reach 11 million or more.

The disease is difficult to diagnose, particularly in its early stages when it resembles other cognitive problems. Currently, a definitive diagnosis is possible only after examining the brain tissue of deceased individuals. Tests for suspected Alzheimer's are often expensive or invasive, and not every patient is able or willing to undergo them, the researchers stated.

A blood test would provide a convenient diagnostic method that could be performed by health care workers nearly anywhere. In addition, a definitive diagnosis is important because treatments specifically targeting Alzheimer's might not be effective against other forms of neurodegenerative disease or cognitive decline, Dr. Díaz-Arrastia said.

Researchers associated with the Texas Alzheimer's Research Consortium, a five-university group funded by the state, carried out the research. In the current study, the scientists analyzed blood samples from 197 Texas patients who had suspected Alzheimer's and 203 people without the disease.

The researchers measured more than 100 blood proteins and created a mathematical analysis that could measure a person's risk of having Alzheimer's. The analysis, combined with information from a clinical exam, accurately detected Alzheimer's 94 percent of the time, and correctly ruled out Alzheimer's 84 percent of the time in people without the disease, Dr. Díaz-Arrastia said.

Neither the blood test nor a clinical exam alone was as accurate on its own as the blood test and clinical exam combined, the researchers found.

"Having a diagnosis is an important step, but it's not the end of the road unless you've got a treatment or a cure," Dr. Díaz-Arrastia said.

The next step in the work is to determine whether the biomarker test can detect accurately Alzheimer's in preserved blood serum from patients who have been diagnosed definitively by an autopsy.

Other UT Southwestern researchers participating in the study were Dr. Guanghua Xiao, assistant professor of clinical sciences; Dr. Joan Reisch, professor of clinical sciences and family and community medicine; and Dr. Perrie Adams, professor of psychiatry.

Also participating were researchers from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.

The study also was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern's clinical services in the neurosciences, including memory disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at

Aline McKenzie | 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 >>>