Altered enzyme indicates Alzheimer's-like dementia in subgroup population

For the first time, scientists have identified a biomarker that can detect a form of dementia often confused with Alzheimer's.

A team from the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona found genetic alterations in the expression of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BCHE) in the brains of patients who had Lewy Body dementia, which displays similar symptoms to Alzheimer's.

According to the investigators, LBD is the second-leading cause of dementia in the elderly. This particular biomarker should be effective in identifying about one in 5 cases of LBD, assisting clinicians in identifying a subgroup of patients in a tricky field.

"Although this marker only detects a certain number of LBD sufferers, it significantly increases diagnostic sensitivity to the disease and these patients can get an accurate diagnosis and therefore the right treatment," explains Dr. Katrin Beyer, head of the research project and a member of the Group of Structural and Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology at the Germans Trias Hospital and Institute. 

The Grifols company licensed the test patent for the diagnostic, which is designed to enable more precise diagnosis and treatment for the condition. And the company expects that it will also be helpful in identifying patients for future clinical studies.

- here's the press release