Alzheimer’s research: New blood test shows the disease 16 years before the outbreak

Despite intensive research there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. New drugs may the progressive brakes at the end of the destruction of brain cells. Usually, however, the dementia is not recognized until the patients show marked mental failure and of brain atrophy in the advanced stages. This damage is then irreversible.

"That there is still no effective therapy against Alzheimer’s disease, probably because the current therapies much too late einsetzen", Mathias Jucker of the University of Tübingen says. In order to achieve better treatment success, it would be important, therefore, to be able to the disease prior to the appearance of the first noticeable symptoms to diagnose.

Remnants of dead nerve cells

Exactly, the future of using special blood tests. Most of the methods developed so far are based on the detection of Beta-Amyloid proteins. This is because a Alzheimer’s disease this failure to accumulate folded proteins in the brain and are also in the blood to measure. Jucker and his colleagues have now developed an entirely new approach to Testing: "Our blood test does not measure the Amyloid, but what causes it in the brain: the death of Nervenzellen", Jucker explains.

The principle behind it: When brain cells die, their Remains in the blood to demonstrate. "Typically, such proteins are degraded in the blood and are therefore not very well as a Marker for a neurodegenerative disorder. An exception is a small piece of a so-called neuro-filament, the ist&quot against this removal amazingly resistant forms, however,;, the researchers reported.

Early Changes

This protein forms the basis of the new Alzheimer’s tests. But how well and how early concentration in the blood is by using the Filament of a dementia disease? This, the researchers examined data of 405 subjects in which Alzheimer’s disease occurs due to genetic predispositions, often in the middle ages. In these individuals, the exact allow genetic analyses right predictions about whether and when they will develop dementia.

The evaluations showed that long before the appearance of the first symptoms of the Filament piece in the blood of the Affected enriched. Striking changes were, therefore, up to 16 years before the calculated Manifestation of dementia. As the research team explains, it seems that the change in the Filament concentration in the neuronal removal, accurately reflect.

Advantage compared to Amyloid-proof

This connection will allow good predictions about the further course of the disease: "We were able to make predictions about the loss of brain mass and cognitive impairments, which occurred two years later, in fact, sind", Jucker reported.

In contrast, the connection between the Neurodegeneration and the toxic Amyloid-proteins was much less pronounced. This observation supports the according to scientists, the assumption that these proteins are a cause of the disease, the neuronal reduction takes place in the further course, however, independent of them.

Tools for research

A disadvantage of the new Test, however, has: Alzheimer’s disease is the only neurodegenerative disorder where the accumulation of neuro-filaments in the blood. Thus, the Test is suitable only to a limited extent for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. "The Test shows very exactly the course of the disease and is thus an excellent tool to erforschen&quot in clinical trials of new Alzheimer’s therapies;, includes Jucker. (Nature Medicine, 2019; doi: 10.1038/s41591-018-0304-3)

Source: DZNE/ Hertie-Institute for clinical brain research University clinic Tübingen

This article was written by Daniela Albat

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