<--GAT-->

Study: Alzheimer’s Disease Blood Test Would Be Feasible

by U.S. Medicine

August 9, 2015

LOS ANGELES — A new study provides the first evidence that a simple blood test could be developed to confirm the presence of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, which could help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

No reliable blood-based test currently exists for the neurodegenerative disorder that is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the report in the journal Neurology.1

The study team, which was led by UCLA researchers and included participation from the Los Angeles and San Francisco VAMCs, notes that use of blood-based biomarkers — a signature of proteins in the blood that indicate the presence of a disease — to diagnose Alzheimer’s would be a meaningful step forward.

“Blood-based biomarkers would have the important advantage of being safe, affordable and easy to administer in large groups or in rural areas, and therefore could have an enormous impact on clinical care and clinical trials alike,” said lead author Liana G. Apostolova, MD, director of the neuroimaging laboratory at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA.

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed definitively only by post-mortem examination of brain tissue. For living patients, physicians must rely on biomarkers as well as cognitive symptoms such as memory loss.

For the study, the research team looked at the build-up of amyloid in the brain, including several blood proteins known to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, along with information generally derived from clinical work-up of patients suspected to have the disease, including of memory testing and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Blood samples and other data from patients with mild cognitive impairment from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative also were reviewed.

The method was found to be predictive of amyloid in the brain with modest accuracy.

“Our study suggests that blood protein panels can be used to establish the presence of Alzheimer’s-type pathology of the brain in a safe and minimally invasive manner,” Apostolova said. “We need to further refine and improve on the power of this signature by introducing new disease-related metrics, but this indicates that such a test is feasible and could be on the market before long.”

A blood test also would help avoid misdiagnosis, she added.

“With the advent of the amyloid PET scan, we are learning that as many as 25-30 percent of subjects who enroll in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials turn out not to have the disease,” Apostolova said. “That makes it difficult to measure the effects of the treatment being tested.”

1Apostolova LG, Hwang KS, Avila D, Elashoff D, Kohannim O, Teng E, Sokolow S, Jack CR, Jagust WJ, Shaw L, Trojanowski JQ, Weiner MW, Thompson PM; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Brain amyloidosis ascertainment from cognitive imaging, and peripheral blood protein measures. Neurology. 2015 Feb17;84(7):729-37. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001231. Epub 2015 Jan 21. PubMed PMID: 25609767; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4336101.

 


Comments are closed here.


Related Articles

Administrative Confusions Results in Little Oversight of VA’s Police Force

Suicides, Violence at VMACs Put Spotlight on Security WASHINGTON—As the number of suicides and other violent incidents at VA facilities grows, a spotlight is being thrown on VA’s internal police force and its ability to... View Article

All VA Healthcare Facilities to Be Completely Smoke-Free by October

New Directive Abolishes Designated Smoking Zones WASHINGTON—Starting in October, all VA healthcare facilities will be official no-smoking zones. While VA now permits smoking in designated areas, the department has issued a new policy restricting smoking... View Article


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From news

News

Democrats Look at VA Role of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Associates

WASHINGTON—Congress announced last month that it will be opening an investigation into alleged improper influence by three civilian consultants to President Donald Trump on administration of the VA. The three men—Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel... View Article

News

Legislators Question Whether VA Can Efficiently Implement Mission Act

Six months after President Donald Trump signed the VA MISSION Act–a bill that will, among other things, streamline and expand veterans’ access to non-VA healthcare providers–many legislators are concerned whether VA has the ability to implement the extensive provisions in the bill without the painful speed bumps experienced with past legislation.

News

VA Overall Appointment Wait Times Shorter than the Private-Sector

Despite intense scrutiny of wait times for veterans seeking VA care over the last three years, a new study pointed out that delays in the private sector weren’t statistically less in 2014 and that, possibly because of the focus, wait times now are significantly shorter for the VA compared to private-sector healthcare facilities.

News

Report Questions Quality of Outsourced VA Benefit Examinations

A review of outsourcing by the Veterans Benefits Administration raised issues about the quality of contractor examinations and also questioned whether a proposed solution will work as intended.

News

Suicide Rates Jump Up for Younger Veterans in Recent Years

Rates of suicide among younger veterans (ages 18-34) “increased substantially in recent years,” climbing from 40.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2015 to 45 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2016, according to a new report.

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up