A new biomarker that is found in the blood can detect Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage and track its progression. This follows from the publications of Swedish scientists.
Three new studies support the possibility of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease using a blood test, reports the University of Gothenburg. The method has potential for use in clinical practice and research.
It is known that in Alzheimer’s disease, excessively phosphorylated tau protein forms neurofibrillary tangles, which are usually detected after death. New methods for their detection that have emerged are often invasive, expensive, or used in specialized centers.
Last year, a team of scientists from the University of Gothenburg developed a test that detects the presence of phosphorylated tau protein (p-tau181) in the blood. In a recent publication in JAMA Neurology, researchers demonstrated that increased levels of p-tau181 and another biomarker, neurofilament light chains, are associated with the development of cognitive impairment and degeneration in areas of the brain that are commonly affected in Alzheimer’s disease. The level of p-tau181 turned out to be specific for the disease.
One of the earlier publications in the journal Brain describes how researchers determined changes in p-tau181 levels over time. It turned out that the test detects disruptions in marker levels several years before the onset of characteristic manifestations of the disease. According to another article in Molecular Psychiatry, the test was able to predict the development of dementia in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, a blood test for p-tau181 showed potential for early detection of the disease.
Previously, scientists from New York spoke about three main subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on their discovery, they hypothesized why many drugs that have been successfully tested in animal models have not further demonstrated benefits in humans.