Scientists from Australia and Japan have recently developed a blood test which can find out the accumulation of toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This blood test is a breakthrough in blood tests for dementia. The work was recently published in the journal Nature.
The test was conducted on several patients with memory loss and those having Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the tests were around 90% accurate. However, there are further studies required to test the efficacy of these blood tests in diagnosing Alzheimer’s much before memory loss initiates. Alzheimer’s progresses years before patients actually start having a significant memory loss. The conventional method of diagnosing Alzheimer’s is to look for a toxic protein -beta-amyloid, which is accumulated in the brain due to the disease. The presence of this toxic protein can be checked by different brain scans which are quite impractical and expensive.
The recently developed blood test is aimed at looking for fragments of amyloid that enter the blood stream due to Alzheimer’s disease. By comparing the ratio of different amyloid fragments present in the blood stream, the presence of beta-amyloid in the brain can be detected much earlier. This implies that it would be easy to know what is happening inside the brain by checking for amyloid fragments in the blood stream.
Dr. Abdul Hye, a researcher at King’s College London, has pointed out the significance of blood plasma amyloid in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease much earlier or in its initial stages. He added that the true test of this recently developed blood test will be performed on independent, healthy, and cognitive individuals or people who are in pre-clinical phase of Alzheimer’s.
At present, there is no treatment that can change the course of the disease, hence this blood test would be of importance in clinical trials. The blood test can determine the level of change in blood plasma amyloid with changing treatments during clinical trials.