Alzheimer's blood test moves closer

Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia believe that they have brought an early Alzheimer's disease blood test one step closer by finding a link between a number of apolipoproteins (proteins that transport cholesterol in the blood) and early onset of the disease, even before symptoms are emerging.

The team of researchers followed up older people from the Sydney Memory and Aging Study, including healthy people and people with mild cognitive impairment, over two years, and measured their apolipoprotein levels. They found that the levels of the proteins were altered in people with cognitive impairment, and that, in people with normal cognition, lower levels of ApoA1, ApoH and ApoJ (clusterin) predicted a decline in cognitive impairment, the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The results were published in PLoS One.

"It is known that one variant of the gene for one type of apolipoprotein, Apo E, increases the risk of Alzheimer's. Another of these proteins, Apo J or clusterin, has been found in the brain lesions of people with Alzheimer's. Essentially, this is one step towards developing a suite of biomarkers to include a number of different proteins that will identify individuals with mild cognitive impairment who will probably go on to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia in the future," says University of New South Wales School of Psychiatry professor Perminder Sachdev.

These biomarkers could be used as early diagnostics, to find those people who might benefit from treatment and extra support, or as targets for new treatments for this devastating disease.

In other Alzheimer's disease news, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and GE Healthcare are collaborating to validate a serum biomarker that could predict the development of Alzheimer's disease months or years before symptoms emerge.

- read the press release about apolipoproteins
- see the abstract from PLoS One
- check out the press release from VTT