Progress towards a non-invasive test for Alzheimer's disease: "Reliability and failure to replicate initial results have been the biggest challenge in this field. We demonstrate here that it is possible to show consistent findings. ... [Researchers] measured the levels of 190 proteins in the blood of 600 study participants [including] healthy volunteers and those who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI, often considered a harbinger for Alzheimer's disease, causes a slight but measurable decline in cognitive abilities. A subset of the 190 protein levels (17) were significantly different in people with MCI or Alzheimer's. When those markers were checked against data from 566 people participating in the multicenter Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, only four markers remained: apolipoprotein E, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein and pancreatic polypeptide. Changes in levels of these four proteins in blood also correlated with measurements from the same patients of the levels of proteins [beta-amyloid] in cerebrospinal fluid that previously have been connected with Alzheimer's. The analysis grouped together people with MCI, who are at high risk of developing Alzheimer's, and full Alzheimer's. ... Though a blood test to identify underlying Alzheimer's disease is not quite ready for prime time given today's technology, we now have identified ways to make sure that a test will be reliable."
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