New Blood Test Can Detect Alzheimer's Disease

A novel test can detect Alzheimer's-related mild cognitive impairment with 100% accuracy.

The creation of a new blood test can lead to earlier detection of an initial sign of Alzheimer’s disease, known as the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage.

A study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia included 236 patients with low levels of amyloid-beta 42 peptide in their cerebrospinal fluid, which is an indicator or Alzheimer’s pathology. There were 50 patients who had MCI.

"About 60% of all MCI patients have MCI caused by an early stage of Alzheimer's disease. The remaining 40% of cases are caused by other factors, including vascular issues, drug side-effects and depression. To provide proper care, physicians need to know which cases of MCI are due to early Alzheimer's and which are not," said the lead study author Cassandra DeMarshall. "Our results show that it is possible to use a small number of blood-borne autoantibodies to accurately diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's. These findings could eventually lead to the development of a simple, inexpensive and relatively noninvasive way to diagnose this devastating disease in its earliest stages."

Researchers said that Alzheimer’s-related changes can begin at least 10 years prior to any symptoms. The test is disease-specific and can distinguish the difference between early stages and more advanced stages.

The researchers used human protein microarrays that each contained 9486 unique human proteins that attract blood-borne antibodies. Researchers were able to identify the top 50 autoantibody biomarkers that can detect early-stage Alzheimer’s pathology in patients with MCI, according to the study.

Through multiple tests, researchers found that the biomarkers were 100% accurate in detecting Alzheimer’s-related MCI.

The blood test can also differentiate patients with MCI related to Alzheimer’s from mild-moderate Alzheimer’s (98.7% accuracy), early-stage Parkinson’s disease (98% accuracy), multiple sclerosis (100% accuracy), and breast cancer (100% accuracy). The study concluded this test could lead to earlier pre-symptomatic detection of Alzheimer’s disease and potentially delay disease progression.