Published on: November 22, 2014
by The Times:
A NEW blood test appears to detect Alzheimer’s disease up to 10 years before it could otherwise be diagnosed.
Scientists have found that the brains of patients with the condition do not respond normally to the action of insulin.
The test, presented at the US Society for Neuroscience’s conference in Washington, claims to distinguish between patients and cognitively normal people with 100 per cent accuracy.
Dimitrios Kapogiannis, the study’s lead author at the National Institute on Ageing, said: “We will need replication and validation, but I’m very optimistic this work will hold.”
It was already known that type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance were risk factors for Alzheimer’s. But the researchers found that people with Alzheimer’s had insulin resistance due to a defect in a key cellular protein “antenna” — a change that also occurs in the brains of people with type 2 diabetes but to a lesser degree.
The study involved 174 people, including 48 Alzheimer’s patients, 20 elderly people with diabetes, and 84 healthy elderly people. The other 22 were patients with Alzheimer’s who had provided samples between one and 10 years before diagnosis. The test distinguished between the three groups, and even identified Alzheimer’s in the older samples.
Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the leading dementia research charity in Britain, said: “Finding molecular signatures of early Alzheimer’s in blood is an active research area which holds potential for increasing the accuracy of diagnosis and improving clinical trials for new treatments.’’
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