Researchers have discovered a new blood test that is able to accurately diagnose or predict Alzheimer’s disease before the symptoms appear.
At the moment, the only way to diagnose the disease in an effective way in life is via brain scans and tests of cerebrospinal liquid which has to be collected via a lumbar puncture.
Even if these tests are expensive and complicated, they do provide an accurate diagnosis. But, there are currently being studied more methods of diagnosing the disease.
Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US are working to develop a blood test that could replace these procedures.
The tau protein
The tau protein has been involved in Alzheimer’s disease, and it occurs as a family of related molecules which have different properties.
The team took advantage of the complexity of tau, and they built assays to measure various forms of tau, and they identified a subset of tau proteins which are elevated if the Alzheimer’s disease is present.
“A blood test for Alzheimer’s disease could be administered easily and repeatedly, with patients going to their primary care office rather than having to go into a hospital,” said Dominic Walsh, from Brigham.
Tests will need further validation
“Our test will need further validation in many more people, but if it performs as in the initial two cohorts, it would be a transformative breakthrough,” said Walsh.
The team studied five different tests for tau fragments, and they found out that the one names NT1 assay showed enough ability to predict AD cases and also exclude controls to pursue its use as a potential screening tool for the disease.
“We’ve made our data and the tools needed to perform our test widely available because we want other research groups to put this to test,” he concluded, highlighting the need for further validation.
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