A study published in Nature Medicine indicates that a research team from the Georgetown University, Washington, DC and six other US institutions has identified a blood lipid profile test that can eventually predict the development of mild dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) within three years.
In the last 15 years there have been over 100 attempts to develop a treatment for AD, but all have failed. Last month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD and 10 large drug companies announced a new multimillion joint project aiming to identify new approaches to treat AD.
In the in Nature Medicine study the team studied 525 healthy participants, aged 70 and older, and monitored them for five years, their report was published in the March 09, 2014 issue of Nature Medicine (Advance Online Publication).
The researchers validated a blood-based biomarker panel with very high accuracy for detecting preclinical AD. The defined ten-metabolite profile features phospholipids that have essential structural and functional roles in the integrity and functionality of cell membranes.
This metabolic panel identifies with accuracy above 90% cognitively normal individuals who, on average, will phenoconvert to amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) or AD within 2–3 years.
These findings offer the potential to identify people at risk and may eventually promote the development of earlier treatment options for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Source: Nature Medicine (2014), doi:10.1038/nm.3466