HealthDay News — A major advance has been made in creating a blood test to predict when at-risk patients will develop Alzheimer disease (AD), according to researchers.

“We have identified 10 plasma proteins strongly associated with disease severity and disease progression,” wrote Simon Lovestone, of the University of Oxford, and colleagues in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

“Such markers may be useful for patient selection for clinical trials and assessment of patients with predisease subjective memory complaints.”

Blood samples from 1,148 patients (476 with Alzheimer disease; 220 with ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’ (MCI) and 432 elderly controls without dementia) were analyzed for 26 proteins previously shown to be associated with Alzheimer disease. Of the patients, 476 received MRI brain scans.

Correlation was seen in 16 proteins and disease severity and cognitive decline, reported investigators. The strongest associations were seen in the MCI group with a panel of 10 proteins predicting progression to AD (accuracy 87%, sensitivity 85%, and specificity 88%).

Despite the success of the trial, inspectors noted a need to validate their findings with more research. “Further studies will also be needed to address specificity,” wrote the researchers.

“The markers we have identified are often altered in other disease areas–inflammation, cardiovascular, respiratory, dental, and others–and it will be important to distinguish the relative overlap and confounding by these diseases.”

References

  1. Lovestone S et al. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.05.1749