London: In a major step towards development of a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have discovered a set of biomarkers (indicators of disease) that predicted whether or not a given individual would develop the debilitating disorder that impairs memory.
“Our research proves that it is possible to predict whether or not an individual with mild memory problems is likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the next few years,” said Paul Morgan, professor at Cardiff University in Britain.
“We hope to build on this in order to develop a simple blood test that can predict the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in older people with mild, and possibly innocent, memory impairment,” Morgan said.
The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, took blood samples from almost 300 individuals presenting with very common symptoms of memory impairment and measured a large number of proteins belonging to a part of the immune system which is known to drive inflammation and has previously been implicated in brain diseases.
When the individuals were re-assessed a year later, about a quarter had progressed to Alzheimer’s disease and three of the proteins measured in their blood showed significant differences from the blood of participants that did not go on to develop the disease.