10 December 2018

By blood test

Alzheimer's disease can be determined by blood

Svetlana Maslova, Naked Science

A simple test will replace the invasive examination of cerebrospinal fluid and brain imaging. Scientists have identified a biomarker that can become the basis of diagnosis.

Modern diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is a complicated and expensive procedure. At the same time, the neurodegenerative disease is "getting younger" and spreading all over the world. And to simplify the diagnosis, scientists from the United States are looking for opportunities to create a blood test. EurekAlert (Blood test for tau, Alzheimer's disease under development) writes about one of the most remarkable attempts.

Article by Chen et al. Learning about the complexity of extracellular tau aid development of a blood-based screen for Alzheimer's disease is published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia – VM.

To create the test, experts turned to the complex protein tau, which accumulates against the background of the development of the disease. In order for the test to be sensitive enough, they identified a subset of proteins, especially elevated in Alzheimer's disease.

Then tests were developed that could detect these populations of tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid and blood. They applied them to two groups of volunteers who submitted plasma and cerebrospinal fluid for examination.

A fragment of a tau protein called NT1 showed sufficient sensitivity and specificity. It should be used as a potential marker for screening, the authors believe. About 150 people took part in this interim study. Now scientists are planning to expand the sample. They will also study changes in the tau protein fragment in the blood as the disease progresses, and will also assess the possibility of early screening - before the first symptoms appear.

In the search for an effective cure for Alzheimer's disease, scientists have also undertaken a method of detailing. They studied the variety of symptoms of the disease and proved that there are as many as six diseases, and not one, as is commonly believed.

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