Scientists find new way to detect Alzheimer’s disease 5 years before its onset

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In a new study, researchers discovered two early plasma markers to detect Alzheimer’s disease five years before its onset.

The research was conducted by a team at INRS‐Centre Armand‐Frappier Santé‐Biotechnologie.

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is usually based on a series of psychometric tests assessing cognitive function, brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid analysis.

Yet, these tests have their limitations. The lumbar puncture is invasive, while brain imaging is expensive and not 100% reliable. This complicates regular follow-up.

Moreover, people with the disease are often being diagnosed at a late stage of the disease.

In the study, the team found two markers, detectable through a blood test, enabling them to follow the progression of the disease.

These markers are found in plasma extracellular vesicles, pockets that are released by all cells in the body and circulate in the bloodstream.

The team focused specifically on the “sporadic” Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of the disease.

It stems mainly from the presence of the APOE4 susceptibility gene, the E4 variant of the gene coding for apolipoprotein.

Patients with this gene who developed the disease five years later had markers present that varied with the progression of the disease.

The research was carried out by analyzing blood samples collected as part of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA).

The population studied consisted of patients with cognitive problems, but not suffering from dementia, and only some of whom developed Alzheimer’s disease.

The team hopes to analyze a larger population with pre-and post-disease samples in the near future. This would allow them to determine the progression of markers after the onset of symptoms.

One author of the study is Mohamed Raâfet Ben Khedher.

The study is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions.

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