A study at Emory University School of Medicine has marked another step towards developing an effective blood test for Alzheimer’s disease. This study will be published in the August 28 issue of the journal, Neurology. William Hu, MD, PhD and assistant professor of Neurology at the university was the lead author of hits study; collaborators from University of Pennsylvania and Washington University, St. Louis, were also involved.

Six hundred participants from these institutions took part in the study; these participants were either healthy or diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s. The scientists measured the levels of 190 proteins in the blood of the participants. Results indicated that 17 proteins were present in significantly different levels in the blood of those with AD or MCI compared to the healthy volunteers. The researchers checked these 17 proteins with data from another 566 people in the multicenter Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. From this, they distinguished four proteins (apolipoprotein E, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein, pancreatic polypeptide) that correlated with AD and MCI. In an analysis that clustered people into three groups (MCI, high risk of developing AD, and full AD), it was found that changes in blood levels of these foru proteins are linked to levels of beta-amyloid in the cerebrospinal fluid. Beta-amyloid is the protein that is believed to cause Alzheimer’s when accumulated in the brain.
 

While there is a way to go, these biomarkers give hope that a blood test for Alzheimer’s can be possible.

For the publication of the study, please visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22855860.

Source: http://scienceblog.com/56029/blood-test-for-alzheimers-gaining-ground/

Keywords: blood test; Alzheimer’s disease; beta-amyloid

Wendy Liu

August 13, 2012