An international research team has developed a blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with an accuracy rate of over 96%. The test was developed based on data from Chinese patients. So far, in order to diagnose people with AD, doctors have mainly relied on cognitive tests. In addition, brain imaging and lumbar puncture are two other commonly used methods to detect and understand the changes caused by AD in a person’s mind. These procedures are not only expensive and intrusive, but also unavailable in many countries.
However, a team led by Professor Nancy IP, Vice President of Research and Development at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), has developed a new test that can identify 19 of the 429 AD-related plasma proteins. “With the advancement of ultra-sensitive blood protein detection technology, we have developed a simple, non-invasive, and accurate AD diagnosis solution, which will greatly facilitate population-scale screening and staging of diseases,” said Professor Nancy IP. In a statement.
The team developed a scoring system that can distinguish AD patients from healthy patients. Not only that, it can also help identify people in the early, middle and late stages of AD. The research team said that the scoring system could then be used to monitor the progress of the disease, adding that these findings are likely to pave the way for more disease treatments.
In addition to researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, this work is also carried out in collaboration with researchers from University College London and clinicians from local hospitals such as Prince of Wales Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Researchers and scientists used Proximity Extension Analysis (PEA)-an advanced ultra-sensitive and high-throughput protein measurement technology-to study the levels of more than 1,000 proteins in the plasma of AD patients in Hong Kong. The research has been published in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) causes dysfunction and loss of brain cells, affecting more than 50 million people. Symptoms include progressive memory loss and impaired movement, reasoning, and judgment. Even if patients only seek medical help when they have memory problems, AD will begin to affect the brain at least 10-20 years before symptoms appear.