Researchers have found that a protein — the levels of which can be easily monitored in routine blood tests — could serve as a new biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills.
For the study, an international team of researchers assessed the levels of activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) in elderly individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. “We have found a clear connection between ADNP levels in the blood and amyloid plaques — a hallmark Alzheimer’s — in the brain,” said lead researcher Illana Gozes from Tel Aviv University in Israel.
The study also found that ADNP levels tested in the blood correlate with higher IQ in healthy older adults.
The findings — published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease — suggest that a routine blood test can reveal Alzheimer’s risk and IQ measurements. Currently, the medical professionals have to conduct a long series of tests to assess a patient’s memory impairment and cognitive skills, functional abilities and behavioural changes to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
For the purpose of the study, the investigators analysed blood samples taken from 42 healthy adults, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease patients at Rambam Medical Center in Israel.
Significant increases in ADNP RNA levels were observed in patients ranging from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s dementia.
“This study has provided the basis to detect this biomarker in routine, non-invasive blood tests, and it is known that early intervention is invaluable to Alzheimer’s patients,” Gozes pointed out. “We are now planning to take these preliminary findings forward into clinical trials to create a pre-Alzheimer’s test that will help to tailor potential preventative treatments,” Gozes noted.