Blood test identifies Alzheimer's

A blood test that can identify those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease up to six years before the onset of symptoms has been developed, say US researchers.

The test, which works by identifying changes in signalling proteins that are used by the brain to communication to other parts of the body, was found to be able to detect the disease with 90 per cent accuracy.

Currently, a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made by testing for memory loss and cognitive decline.

But the US research team believe that the blood test could soon be used to detect the disease.

The concept of the blood test began after the researchers compared blood samples from five people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s with five people who did not have the disease.

They found a number of changes to a set of signalling proteins found in the blood plasma of the Alzheimer’s patients, which they used as markers for the alterations to the chemistry of the brain that precede Alzheimer’s.

The researchers then decided to expand the study and obtained 259 archived blood samples from individuals who had symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

They developed an analysis procedure to identify if there was a pattern seen in the proteins found in Alzheimer’s patients that could be compared with that of people without the disease.
Eighteen proteins were identified that were specific to Alzheimer’s.

To test out the accuracy of the blood test, the researchers selected 47 people with mild cognitive impairment who had been followed for two to six years.

The blood test was performed on blood samples taken at the beginning of the study.
The test successfully identified 91 per cent of the patients who went on to develop Alzheimer’s by the end of the six-year follow up.

However, the researchers stress that the findings of the blood test still need to be confirmed in other studies.

Nature Medicine Online 2007
Live link at:

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP consultation

GP practices delivering 150,000 extra appointments per day compared with 2019

GP practices in England delivered 150,000 more appointments per working day in the...

Surgeon looking at a monitor in an operating theatre

NICE recommends non-invasive surgical procedure to target obesity

NICE has said that a non-invasive weight loss procedure should be used by the NHS...

GP trainee

Two training posts deliver one full-time GP on average, report warns

Two training posts are needed on average to deliver a single fully-qualified, full-time...

Dr Fiona Day

How to flourish as a GP by learning from the good and the difficult

Leadership and career coach Dr Fiona Day explains how GPs can grow and develop from...

Unhappy older woman sitting at home alone

Low mood – red flag symptoms

Low mood is a common presentation in primary care and can be a sign of a mental health...


PCN to take on GMS practice contract in landmark move for general practice

A GP practice in Hertfordshire could become the first to be run directly by a PCN...