Alzheimer's disease is usually diagnosed very late, when there is no chance of treatment. Large-scale screening programs help to detect the disease at an early stage, but modern diagnostic methods are too cumbersome and expensive.
According to a new study, a simple urine test for the presence of formic acid can detect Alzheimer's disease at an early stage.
Screening for Alzheimer's disease
Existing methods of early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease are either expensive and require special equipment (positron emission tomography of the brain), or invasive and painful for patients (blood test, lumbar puncture). Urinalysis is a non-invasive and convenient means for large-scale screening. Researchers have already tried to identify biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease in urine, but none of them were suitable for detecting the early stages of the disease.
Formic acid: an ideal biomarker?
The authors have previously identified formaldehyde as a biomarker of Alzheimer's disease in urine. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to improve the diagnosis of the disease in the early stages. In the new study, they focused on formic acid, a product of formaldehyde metabolism, to find out whether it is more effective as a biomarker.
A total of 574 people participated in the study, the participants were either healthy volunteers with normal cognitive abilities, or patients with varying degrees of disease progression, ranging from subjective cognitive decline to Alzheimer's disease. The researchers analyzed the urine and blood samples of the participants.
Identification of the preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease
The study showed that the level of formic acid in the urine was significantly increased in all groups with Alzheimer's disease and the group of subjective cognitive decline compared to healthy volunteers, it correlated with a decrease in cognitive abilities. This suggests that formic acid can be used as a sensitive biomarker of the early stage of Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers compared the level of formic acid in urine with biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease detected in the blood, and found that a urine test more accurately predicts the stage of the disease. However, further research is needed to better understand the relationship between the disease and the level of formic acid in the urine.
Determination of biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease in urine is convenient and cost-effective, and it can be carried out during preventive medical examinations of the elderly.
Article Y.Wang et al. Systematic evaluation of urinary formic acid as a new potential biomarker for Alzheimer's disease is published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
Aminat Adzhieva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru according to Frontiers Science Communications: Biomarker in urine could be the first to reveal early-stage Alzheimer's disease.