A Possible New Blood Test for Alzheimer's

Blood test for protein buildup could aid in Alzheimer's disease detection

(RxWiki News) A blood test to detect Alzheimer's disease? A new study suggests it's possible.

The international team of researchers behind this study found that a blood test that looks for an abnormal buildup of a certain protein could indicate the development of Alzheimer's.

Currently, in order to detect Alzheimer’s disease, brain imaging and spinal fluid tests are needed. These can be costly, take time and be invasive.

The development of an effective blood test for Alzheimer's could reduce these issues significantly.

The blood test used in this study looks for an abnormal buildup of a protein called phosphorylated-tau-181 (ptau181) in a part of the blood called plasma. Samples taken from 400 patients at the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center showed that this biomarker could help separate those who are developing Alzheimer's and those who are not.

Another research team using the same blood test was able to separate patients with Alzheimer's disease and those with other neurodegenerative diseases as effectively as they could with traditional methods (brain imaging and spinal fluid tests).

More research and testing are needed before tests like this can be rolled out on a large scale, but these researchers said biomarker tests like a blood test for ptau181 could greatly help with Alzheimer's treatment and research in the future.

If you have any questions about Alzheimer's disease or dementia, speak with your health care provider.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
March 14, 2020