Alzheimer’s can take a heavy toll not only on a patient, but his or her whole support system. Known as the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s worsens as it progresses, eventually leading to death. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed late and no cure currently exists.
Although this is a grim disease, researchers from the Mayo Clinic have new hope that early detection can help patients and families manage better. Researchers are working on detecting metabolic patterns in blood plasma that are associated with Alzheimer’s before clinical symptoms arise.
The study published in PLOS ONE, involved 45 patients – 15 with no cognitive decline, 15 with mild cognitive decline, and 15 with Alzheimer’s. Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma samples within these patients were analyzed. Researchers discovered that there were significant changes in these samples in patients with more cognitive impairment. Even more compelling, the changes in plasma correlated with the changes in cerebrospinal fluid, paving the way for specific biomarkers in detecting Alzheimer’s in the future.
This study hopes to use this preliminary data to further evaluate metabolic pathways in relation to Alzheimer’s, in order to develop a panel of biomarkers. In the future these biomarkers can lead to even earlier detection, progression of Alzheimer’s, as well as therapeutic options with a single blood test!