New biomarker for Alzheimer's discovered

Posted on 23 June 2011

Researchers have identified a new biomarker which could help to detect which individuals with mild memory problems will get Alzheimer's disease, assisting older people in making their long term care plans.

According to the study, published online in journal Neurology, the biomarker may be more accurate than those already discovered.

Scientists took a sample of cerebrospinal fluid from participants with mild cognitive impairment, investigating the Alzheimer's-related proteins in the substance, and followed them for an average of almost three years.

It was revealed that those who developed Alzheimer's disease had higher levels of a protein called soluble amyloid precursor protein beta in the spinal fluid.

The best predictor was found to be a combination of this protein, established marker of brain cell damage tau protein and the age of the individual. This resulted in an 80 per cent accurate test.

Meanwhile, June Andrews of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling has said that dementia diagnosis in the UK needs to be improved to help those suffering from the condition to access the treatment they need.

Posted by Nigel Murphy

 

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