New Blood Test Detects Toxic Proteins Linked to Alzheimer's

New Blood Test Detects Toxic Proteins Linked to Alzheimer's

The blood test opens the way for possibly far cheaper and less invasive tests for amyloid beta, which builds up in the brain as Alzheimer's develops, said the researchers.

A team of scientists from Australia and Japan has developed a blood test to detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common form, affects close to 50 million people worldwide and is expected to affect more than 131 million by 2050, according to the non-profit campaign group Alzheimer's Disease International.

Alzheimer's disease starts years before patients have any symptoms of memory loss.

The study involved 252 Australian and 121 Japanese patients aged between 60 and 90 years.

The researchers pull target peptides out of plasma using immunoprecipitation and then analyze them by mass spectrometry.

It can be detected with brain scans, but these are expensive and impractical. This test gets approval from the scientists of Australia and Japan which boosts the pace of Alzheimer's disease.

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"If (it) can be repeated in a larger number of people, this test will give us an insight into changes occurring in the brain that relate to Alzheimer's disease", said Mark Dallas, a lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at Britain's University of Reading.

Despite decades of scientific research, there is no treatment that can slow the progression of Alzheimer's. None of the three drugs now on the market treat the underlying disease.

The team highlights that more research needs to be conducted across a wider population to make the results more conclusive - and applicable clinically.

Alzheimer's disease affects over 5 million people in the U.S., where the estimated cost of caring for Alzheimer patients in 2017 was $259 billion.

It's still early days for the research with more testing necessary before the blood test would be deployed into practice for the general public, but a more immediate use could be in evaluating participants for Alzheimer's related clinical trials. Following on from that, a simple way to screen for the disease, years before any symptoms actually appear, will help patients apply countermeasures to battle the deleterious effect of these amyloid beta concentrations.

A simple, low-priced blood tests could also make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to secure enough people at risk of Alzheimer's to test new drugs to fight the disease, said researchers.

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