A blood test that can predict the progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia with an 87% accuracy has been reported this week. The scientists from King’s College University London have identified a set of ten proteins from a known group of 26 proteins and linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The large research involved 1,148 people, 476 with Alzheimer's disease, 220 with MCI and 452 elderly controls without memory impairments. Cognitive performance was measured to determine how many declined from MCI to Alzheimer's disease within a year. The group also involved people from Europe, the UK and Canada, something that had not happened in previous research.
Although blood proteins have been previously linked to predicting Alzheimer’s,
(I wrote a sharepost in March on one example), it is a set of 10 proteins present at certain levels in the bloods of people with MCI that predict a high accuracy of progression to Alzheimer’s. The previous study also looked at fats that could predict whether someone with no memory problems progressed to MCI or Alzheimer's disease within two to three years. A blood test based on these markers would have a different clinical use than a test based on the proteins in the King’s College research.
It all sounds a huge move in the right direction, a predictive test is great news, but with no known drugs that can cure Alzheimer’s do you take the risk of finding out you have the disease? Research always throws up questions and dilemmas.
Scientists from within and outside of the pharmaceutical companies believe that some drug trials have failed because patients have been recruited to their studies too late and their disease has progressed too far for the drugs they developed to have a real impact on the disease and the lives of those affected. If this potential new blood test is shown to be effective in a larger group of people, it could revolutionise the way Alzheimer's disease clinical trials are conducted, giving scientists a better chance of finding new, effective treatments.
Only through further research will tell us if this is the major breakthrough. Blood Proteins Can Predict Dementia: Would You Take the Test?
Published On: July 09, 2014