Alzheimer’s : blood test could detect the disease 30 years before symptoms

Health 4 February, 2018


Published the 04.02.2018 at 10: 45 am


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Alzheimer’s disease is a pathology neurodégénératrice which leads to the gradual loss and irreversible neural, and thus mental functions, including memory. It is the cause of dementia most common in the human being because it touches on average 900 000 French and 33 million people around the world. In general, the disease begins in people older than 65 years ; only 4 % to 5 % of Alzheimer’s cases early start before this age. There is no treatment to cure, but early treatment of patients can help delay the progression of the disease.

In the Face of the prevalence of the pathology, medical research is active to find a way to anticipate the symptoms, and it seems that researchers in japan and australia are reached. These have made an extraordinary discovery : a blood test to diagnose the disease 20 to 30 years before the first symptoms. Conducted on 373 volunteers, their study published in Nature, has achieved a success rate of 90%.

The identification of beta-amyloid

This blood test can identify high levels of beta-amyloid. This at a high level in the brain, this protein may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have discovered that it accumulated in the body of the patient between 20 and 30 years before the onset of the first symptoms. “From a small blood sample, our method allows us to measure the levels of proteins related to beta-amyloid, and this, even if their concentration is very low,” said Koichi Tanaka, molecular biologist at the Centre for development of advanced medicine for dementia in Obu, Japan.

But the opinions diverge. “All the people who have the beta-amyloid in the brain are not necessarily affected by dementia, and all those who have dementia do not have necessarily the beta-amyloid in the brain,” says CNN’s Rob Howard, a researcher at University College London. It will undoubtedly be necessary to deepen the research on this screening technique before, it will be unanimous.