New blood test can determine Alzheimer's risk

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Alzheimer's can be predicted using blood biomarkers

A newly developed test can be used to predict the outbreak and course of the disease in Alzheimer's. "We discovered and validated a set of ten peripheral blood lipids that can predict an outbreak of Alzheimer's disease in the next two to three years with more than 90 percent accuracy," said the US research team led by Howard Federoff of Georgetown University Medical Center (Washington) in the journal "Nature Medicine".

The scientists said they identified ten lipids that can act as biomarkers for Alzheimer's in a blood test. The test enables early diagnosis and prediction of the course of the disease, so that therapy can be started earlier. This is of particular importance in Alzheimer's, since so far no cure of the neurodegenerative disease, but only a therapeutic delay in the course of the disease has been possible.

Successful search for preclinical biomarkers According to the US researchers, Alzheimer's disease currently affects “over 35 million people worldwide and the number of those affected is expected to increase to 115 million by 2050.” So far there are no chances of a cure, which is also true have to do with the inability to recognize the disease before advanced, obvious impairments such as memory loss occur, wrote Howard Federoff and colleagues. The determination of preclinical biomarkers could make a decisive contribution to the development of modifying and preventive therapies. The scientists therefore started to look for biomarkers that could be detected in the blood before the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Blood test with 90 percent accuracy In their study, the researchers took a blood sample from 525 adults who had no cognitive impairment at the age of at least 70 years. After three years, they performed another blood test on 53 subjects who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or had developed mild cognitive impairments. The researchers noticed a biomarker panel consisting of ten lipids, which showed noticeable changes in those affected during the first blood test. The identified biomarkers could have predicted the occurrence of Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairments with 90 percent accuracy within the three-year study period, Federoff and colleagues write. This would make it possible to make a relatively reliable, inexpensive, early diagnosis of Alzheimer's and age-related cognitive impairments in the future.

Development of new Alzheimer's drugs possible The development of Alzheimer's drugs could also be significantly advanced by identifying the biomarkers. Howard Federoff explained that it is now possible to test drugs that are already in the preclinical phase of the disease. Therapies initiated at such an early stage could open up completely new treatment options, especially since the course of the disease can still be completely stopped here, the US scientists hope. First of all, however, extensive further clinical studies are now required to check the informative value of the biomark before a corresponding blood test can find its way into everyday medical practice. (fp)

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