Researchers at Washington University in St Louis have developed a simple blood test that may be able to detect whether a person is developing Alzheimer's disease
Amyloid plaques, the buildup of amyloid beta proteins in the brain, start developing more than 15 years before the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease start to surface. At the moment, the only ways to monitor plaque build-up are through PET-scans or spinal tap procedures.
The new blood test measures the amounts of three amyloid subtypes, the peptides amyloid beta 38, 40 and 42. It has been found that the levels of amyloid beta 42 are consistently 10 to 15 percent lower than amyloid beta 40 in people with amyloid plaques in the brain.
"Amyloid plaques are composed primarily of amyloid beta 42, so this probably means that it is being deposited in the brain before moving into the bloodstream," Randall J. Bateman, MD, a professor of Neurology at Washington University in St Louis and the study's senior author explained in a press release.
The blood test is said to have an accuracy of 89 percent over 20 blood samples. The experiment is going to expand to 180 people.
The study was released at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London and published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia.