A blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease could be just as accurate as painful and invasive spinal taps and could revolutionize the diagnosis of the disease, research suggests.
Measuring levels of a protein called p-tau217 in the blood could be as effective as lumbar punctures in detecting signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and better than a series of other ongoing tests, experts say. of development.
The protein is a marker of biological changes that occur in the Alzheimer’s brain.
In a study of 786 people, researchers were able to use the ALZpath p-tau217 test to identify patients as likely, intermediate, or unlikely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Richard Oakley, associate director of research and innovation at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This study is a hugely welcome step in the right direction as it shows that blood tests can be just as accurate as blood tests. more invasive and more expensive to predict whether someone has features of Alzheimer’s disease in their brain.
“Furthermore, this suggests that the results of these tests may be clear enough to not require further follow-up investigations for some people living with Alzheimer’s disease, which could significantly speed up the diagnostic process in the future.” . However, we still need to conduct more research in different communities to understand the effectiveness of these blood tests in all people living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Currently, the only way to prove that a person has protein buildup in the brain is to have a lumbar puncture or amyloid PET scan, which are only available at around one in 20 NHS memory clinics. A lumbar puncture involves to insert a needle into the lower back, between the bones of the spine.
Dr Sheona Scales, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This study suggests that measuring levels of a protein called p-tau217 in the blood could be as accurate as the lumbar punctures currently used to detect features biology of Alzheimer’s disease. and superior to a range of other tests currently in development. This adds to a growing body of evidence that this particular test has enormous potential to revolutionize the diagnosis of people suspected of having Alzheimer’s disease.
She said there was a need to have a better idea of how these types of blood tests were performed in real-world health systems.
Professor David Curtis, Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute of Genetics at University College London, said: “Everyone over 50 could be regularly screened every few years, in the same way as She is currently being screened for high cholesterol.
“It is possible that currently available treatments for Alzheimer’s disease may work better in people diagnosed early in this way. However, I think the real hope is that better treatments can also be developed. The combination of a simple screening test and effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease would have a considerable impact on individuals and society.
The study by Dr Nicholas Ashton, of the University of Gothenburg, and colleagues is published in the journal Jama Neurology.