New blood test for Alzheimer’s ‘could predict it 30 years in advance’

·Contributor

Peptide fragments in blood plasma may provide a simple way of screening people for early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

A new blood test for Alzheimer’s is so accurate that it could allow doctors to detect it up to 30 years before the onset of symptoms – leading to better care and preventative measures.

The study of 373 Australian and Japanese patients, build-up of amyloid beta deposits (thought to be a driver of Alzheimer’s) was accurately detected from a blood test.

Previously, it was impossible to detect from a blood test – but the new technique accurately predicted amyloid build-up in 90% of cases.

‘Holy grail’ blood test for early Alzheimer’s indicators could help patients begin treatment before they show symptoms
‘Holy grail’ blood test for early Alzheimer’s indicators could help patients begin treatment before they show symptoms

The proteins start to build up up to 30 years before recognisable Alzheimer’s symptoms like memory loss appear.

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‘From a tiny blood sample, our method can measure several amyloid-related proteins, even though their concentration is extremely low,’ says one of the team, Koichi Tanaka from the Shimadzu Corporation in Japan.

‘We found that the ratio of these proteins was an accurate surrogate for brain amyloid burden.’

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