New Blood Test for Alzheimers Has 94% Accuracy

27 Aug 2019

A newer blood test for detecting brain changes indicative of early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is becoming more realistic and could change everything for the field.


Researchers of a study published in Neurology, found that assessing the β-amyloid (Aβ) 42 and Aβ40 ratio in blood with the use of a high-accuracy evaluation is 94 percent accurate in brain amyloidosis diagnosis, using the reference standards CSF phosphorylated (p-tau) 181/Aβ42 or amyloid PET.


According to senior investigator and St. Louis’s Washington University School of Medicine’s professor of neurology, Randall J. Bateman, MD, at the moment, individuals are screened for clinical trials with expensive and time-consuming brain scans and it takes years to enroll people.


He added, that with a blood test, each month they could possibly screen thousands of individuals, meaning they could enroll individuals in clinical trials more efficiently, helping them find treatments quicker. And that could have a huge affect on the expense of AD and the suffering it causes to individuals.


Simple Screening Tool

Using a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and immunoprecipitation evaluation, the researchers assessed CSF samples and Aβ42/Aβ40 in plasma they gathered inside the 18 months of an amyloid PET scan from 158 older individuals mostly cognitively normal.

The combination of apolipoprotein (APOE) ε4 status, age and Aβ42/Aβ40 had “extremely high” (AUC, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.90 – 0.97) association with amyloid PET. This suggested the plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 could serve as a tool to screen individuals who have a higher chance of AD dementia, according to the researchers.

Also, those with negative amyloid PET scan, but a positive plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 have a 15-fold greater chance of changing to amyloid PET-positive (P = .01).

The plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 analysis sensitivity to amyloid PET-negative people converting to amyloid PET-positive indicates plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 must become positive sooner than the set amyloid PET threshold the study uses.

So, a positive plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 combined with a negative amyloid PET scan might constitute early amyloidosis instead of a false-positive result in certain people.

The study builds on the researchers’ earlier work that Medscape Medical News reported.

Plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 assay’s most immediate use is brain amyloidosis screening in potential individuals for AD drug trials, noted investigators.

The plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 screening would decrease how many confirmatory tests there are significantly like amyloid PET or CSF biomarkers which are required for selecting people with brain amyloidosis, particularly in prevention trial cases, which recruit people who are cognitively normal and have a fairly low brain amyloidosis rate.

Researchers approximate that for a prevention trial like the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s (A4) Study, plasma Aβ42/Aβ40  pre-screening would cause a 62 percent decrease in amyloid PET scans, resulting in significantly reduced costs and time for recruitment.

The study was supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly Co/Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and an anonymous foundation.

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