The researchers have invented a new blood test for tracing Alzheimer’s disease risk with more than 90 percent accuracy.
According to the researchers, this blood test can predict if a healthy person will develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease within three years. Moreover, the test has the ability to identify 10 lipids, or fats, in the blood that predict Alzheimer’s disease onset.
Study’s corresponding author Howard J Federoff, said “Our novel blood test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder.”
Howard J Federoff is professor of neurology and executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center.
The researchers carried study on 525 healthy participants who were 70 years and above. There blood samples were taken at the time of enrolment and at various points in the study.
Over the course of the five-year study, 74 participants were found either suffering from mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a memory loss condition known as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Out of these 74 participants, 46 were diagnosed upon enrolment and 28 developed aMCI or mild AD during the study (the latter group called converters).
When the study was in third year, the researchers selected 53 participants who developed aMCI/AD (including 18 converters) and 53 cognitively normal matched controls for the lipid biomarker discovery phase of the study.
A panel of 10 lipids was discovered, which appears to reveal the breakdown of neural cell membranes in participants who develop symptoms of cognitive impairment or AD. The panel was validated using the remaining 21 aMCI/AD participants (including 10 converters), and 20 controls.
Blinded data were analyzed to determine if the subjects could be characterized into the correct diagnostic categories based solely on the 10 lipids identified by researchers.
Researchers say, the lipid panel was able to determine with 90 percent accuracy these two distinct groups: cognitively normal participants who would progress to MCI or AD within two to three years, and those who would remain normal in the near future.
The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.