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Alzheimer’s, new test can detect it in the blood decades before symptoms appear

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Alzheimer’s, new test can detect it in the blood decades before symptoms appear

A new blood test could detect signs of Alzheimer’s years before symptoms emerge, which could help identify people at risk of developing the disease and help develop future treatments. L’Alzheimer, the leading cause of dementia, is currently diagnosed in most cases when the patient experiences a symptom, such as memory loss. At that point, the best treatment options available can only slow the progression of symptoms.

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Research

Research has shown that the suspected cause of Alzheimer’s – a buildup of proteins in the brain – can begin years, or even decades, before symptoms showing cognitive impairment appear. These proteins, called amyloid-beta proteins, aggregate to form what are called oligomers, leading to Alzheimer’s in a process scientists are still trying to understand.

How does it work

A new blood test, developed by researchers at the University of Washington, measures these levels of amyloid-beta protein oligomers in blood samples. Publishing their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers showed how the test could detect oligomers in the blood of Alzheimer’s disease patients, but not in most members of a control group who showed no signs of deterioration. cognitive when the blood samples were taken.

“What clinicians and researchers wanted is a reliable diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s — and not just a test that confirms a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but one that can also detect signs of the disease before cognitive impairment occurs,” said l is senior author Valerie Daggett, a UW professor of bioengineering and faculty member at the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “This is important for people’s health and for all research into how toxic amyloid-beta oligomers continue to cause the damage they do.” She added that the blood test, called a soluble oligomer binding assay (SOBA), “could be the basis for such a test.”

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Predicting Alzheimer’s

The team developed what’s called an alpha sheet, which is a protein structure that binds to oligomers in blood or cerebrospinal fluid. The test then confirms whether the oligomers attached to the alpha sheet are made up of beta-amyloid proteins. The researchers tested SOBA on blood samples from 310 research subjects who had previously made their blood samples and some of their medical records available for Alzheimer’s research. At the time the blood samples were drawn, the subjects were recorded as having no signs of cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or any other form of dementia. SOBA detected oligomers in the blood of individuals with mild cognitive impairment and moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. In 53 cases, the research subject’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis was verified after death by autopsy, while blood samples from 52 of them, taken years before their death, contained toxic oligomers. SOBA also detected oligomers in those control group members who, as the recordings show, subsequently developed mild cognitive impairment.

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