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Blood could be the key to Alzheimer's

Currently, changes in the brain that show signs of Alzheimer's disease can only be reliably assessed using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning and by measuring certain proteins in the spinal cord. In the future, a blood test could be sufficient, as researchers reported at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2019 in Los Angeles.

"There is a great need for simple, reliable, inexpensive, non-invasive and readily available tools for the Alzheimer's diagnosis, "says Maria C. Carillo of the Alheimer Association. Currently, new test technologies are being developed in industry and in scientific research. As early as 201

8, Japanese researchers described the potential blood biomarker amyloid beta, which could be used to identify the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in the future. Abnormal amyloid and tau proteins are the building blocks of characteristic brain lesions associated with Alzheimer's.

At the conference, Akinori Nakamura of the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology of Obu, Japan, reported on new findings from a study to analyze this amyloid biomarker compared to PET scan, magnetic resonance imaging and behavioral tests. The researchers found that the plasma biomarker can detect early amyloid deposits even before dementia symptoms occur.

Risk Patients Detach

"Our results indicate that the biomarker for those This may be useful in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease and also accelerate studies that examine the implications of non-drug intervention and risk management and lifestyle choices have further progression of Alzheimer's, "said Nakamura.

Two other reports describe new blood tests for the evaluation of alpha-synuclein, which contribute to brain changes in Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia, and mild neurofilaments that are reliable indicators for general brain cell damage.

Filippo Baldacci from the University of Pisa investigated with colleagues whether alpha-syn concentrations and their combination with amyloid and tau in red blood cells correctly differentiate Alzheimer's patients from healthy individuals. "Our results showed that patients had much lower levels of alpha-synuclein and combinations with amyloid and tau compared to healthy individuals," says Baldacci.

Red blood cells may be viable and relevant models for neurodegeneration as they are likely to involved in the enrichment and elimination of incorrectly folded proteins, the researchers said.

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