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New Blood Test Accurately Detects Early Alzheimer’s

Scientists from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Durin Technologies have developed a blood test that uses the body’s immune system to detect an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease with 100-percent accuracy.
The blood test is designed to distinguish early-stage Alzheimer’s (mild cognitive impairment) from other diseases like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and early stage breast cancer and can also stage the disease from early to more advanced stages.

Lead author and doctoral candidate Cassandra De Marshall from Rowan University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences says,

To provide proper care, physicians need to know which cases of MCI (mild cognitive impairment) are due to early Alzheimer’s and which are not. Our results show that it is possible to use a small number of blood-borne autoantibodies to accurately diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s.

The scientists recruited 236 patients. Fifty had mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Fifty had mild-moderate Alzheimer’s. A few had mild-moderate Parkinson’s disease. The scientists used human protein microarrays (each containing 9,486 unique human proteins to attract blood-borne antibodies) to identify the tops 50 autoantibody biomarkers that could detect early stage Alzheimer’s in patients with mild MCI. The 50 biomarkers were 100% accurate.

PET scan of a brain with Alzheimer's

PET scan of a brain with Alzheimer’s

Further testing showed higher overall accuracy rates distinguishing those with mild cognitive impairments from those with advanced Alzheimer’s at 98.7-percent., those with early stage Parkinson’s at 98-percent, those with multiple sclerosis at 100% and those with breast cancer at 100-percent.

De Marshall says,

About 60-percent of all MCI patients have MCI caused by an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. The remaining 40-percent 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. 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 the devastating disease in its earliest stages.

The team, however, writes in the study that a much larger sample is needed to prove if the 100% accuracy would fluctuate with additional data. They also see the benefits of a simple blood test in diagnosing Alzheimer’s. Patients can change lifestyle habits, begin treatment earlier and plan for future medical care.

Dr. Robert Nagele

Dr. Robert Nagele

Study lead author and director of the Biomarker Discovery Center at Rowan’s New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, Dr, Robert Nagele says,

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first blood test using autoantibody biomarkers that can accurately detect Alzheimer’s at an early point in the course of the disease when treatments are more likely to be beneficial — that is, before too much brain devastation has occurred.