Years before the first symptoms – the blood test detects Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease lies dormant for up to 20 years in the brain before the disease becomes apparent. Without those Affected being aware of it, formed in your brain often clumps of proteins called Beta-Amyloid. These protein deposits are considered to be the main cause of Alzheimer’s, because they destroy nerve cells, trigger inflammation, and the signal transmission in the brain can interfere.

Now researchers have developed a Test that can accurately detect these proteins in the blood and thus to draw conclusions on the changes in the brain allows, years before the first symptoms arise, they report in the journal “Neurology”.

For the study, the researchers examined the blood of 158 adults over 50 years. The results are compared with brain Scans, which are used for the detection of proteins in the brain. In 88 percent of cases, the test match results, a major breakthrough, the researchers write in the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. For a reliable diagnosis, the value is too low.

“No evidence for dementia”

In a further step, the researchers combined the Test with two other risk factors: age and genetic modifications. From the age of 65 the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years. The other major risk factor is the genetic changes in APOE4 applies. People who wear this, are diagnosed three times as likely to have Alzheimer’s.

For subjects over 65 years of age, with the gene mutation, the accuracy of the blood tests was 94 percent. Before he can, however, be used clinically, further studies with more study participants is needed, the researchers.

“It is important to emphasize that it is a proof for dementia,” said James Pickett of the Alzheimer’s Society of the “BBC”, the researcher was not involved in the study. “The Test tells us only that in the brain of Beta-Amyloid deposits, which may indicate Alzheimer’s disease, but also in healthy elderly people happen.”

In fact, the Test is delivered in some subjects, a false-positive result. That is, the blood test showed Beta-Amyloid, although the brain scans were negative. In some cases, brain scans showed that, four years later abnormalities. The researchers suggest, therefore, that the Test could even indicate earlier on Alzheimer’s disease as the brain scans.

Medical Benefits of testing

But what Patient would know years in advance that he was suffering from an incurable disease? Probably the least, believe the researchers.

The medical Benefit of the test is to be found elsewhere, more and more neurologists are convinced that the therapy of Alzheimer’s disease needs to start as early as possible, even before symptoms occur. If people start to become forgetful, damaged your brain, probably so that they themselves can no longer be cured by effective means. This could also be a reason why promising drug trials have failed so far. (Read more about it here.)

For clinical trials, Doctors are looking for patients, in which protein deposits in the brain have formed, but no symptoms occur. So far, this can only be done with the elaborate and expensive brain scans to find with the blood tests that would be significantly faster and more cost-effective, the researchers argue. “If we can perform the Tests faster, we will come closer to our goal to defeat the disease,” said study author Randall J. Bateman.

He and his Team are not the only ones who do research on such a test. At the beginning of the year, scientists reported a similar procedure. In this case, the blood test is not felt, however, Beta-Amyloid but on other proteins, resulting in the death of nerve cells. According to the researchers, was with the measurement of the loss of brain mass and cognitive impairment values to predict.

In Germany, 1.7 million people are currently suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause. The brain disease is so far incurable. Currently available dementia medications only slow down the progression of the disease, you cannot stop but.