The disease already affects the formation of new brain cells in the hippocampus from its first stages
Scientists in Britain have announced that they have developed a new blood test that can predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease up to 3.5 years before there is a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms.
The researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, led by Professor Sandrine Tourette and Dr. Alexandra Maruzak, made the relevant publication in the journal Brain.
The scientists took blood samples over the course of several years from 56 people with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that is possibly a precursor to dementia in which a person experiences a decline in cognitive and/or memory ability. Although not everyone with mild cognitive impairment will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, the chance is higher than in the general population. Of the 56 participants, 36 were eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The study showed that in patients who eventually developed Alzheimer’s, it was possible to find cellular evidence (changes in the neurogenesis of brain cells in the hippocampus region) in their blood up to 3.5 years earlier. The researchers said the new test – which will be tested in a larger group of people in the future – could complement other blood-based biomarkers, such as the build-up of the toxic proteins amyloid and tau, which capture the typical signs of the incurable neurodegenerative disease.
Alzheimer’s disease affects the formation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, an area involved in learning and memory, from its earliest stages.
Previous studies have only been able to study neurogenesis and how it relates to Alzheimer’s at later stages through autopsy. The new test detects the early cellular changes associated with the disease.
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