Navigation Links
Blood Marker Suggests Severity of Alzheimer's Disease

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that levels of a particular protein can indicate the severity of Alzheimer's disease, but it doesn't serve as an early warning sign of the illness.

Still, the findings are helpful because they reveal that signs of Alzheimer's lurk in the blood, said one of the co-authors of the study.

"What's promising is that we can get such clear signals" through an indicator known as a biomarker, said Monique Breteler, an epidemiologist with University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands. "It will be a matter of time, and resources, to find the markers or panels of markers in blood that can be used to help predict or diagnose the disease."

Alzheimer's disease, which robs its victims of their memories, affects an estimated 5.2 million people in the United States. That number is expected to grow to as many as 7.7 million Americans by 2030 as the population ages.

At the moment, physicians can't diagnose Alzheimer's with certainty in living patients; it can only be diagnosed with certainty after death.

Scientists have known for some time that there are higher levels of a protein called clusterin in the blood of people with Alzheimer's, Breteler said, and recent research has linked variations in the protein to the disease. Those findings, in turn, raise the prospect that the protein could actually be a factor in causing Alzheimer's, she said. If so, physicians might be able to diagnose the disease early on and maybe even try to stop it in its tracks.

Unfortunately, the new study revealed the limitations of clusterin testing.

From 1997-99, researchers tested levels of the protein in 60 people with Alzheimer's and a randomly chosen group of 926 people, and additionally, in 156 people diagnosed with Alzheimer's before 2007. They found that those with the highest levels of clusterin were also most likely to have Alzheimer's even after they adjusted statistics so they wouldn't be thrown off by factors such as age, education level and gender. Alzheimer's patients with the highest levels had the worst disease.

At the moment, one potential use for a clusterin blood test would be to predict rapid decline in Alzheimer's patients, said Greg Cole, associate director of the Alzheimer's Center at the University of California Los Angeles. "But," he said, "I don't think it is ready for that use."

Dr. James R. Burke, director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at Duke University Medical Center, identified a potential problem with such a test: clusterin levels don't specify whether a person has Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia, a form of senility related to impaired blood flow, Burke said. "So, measurements of clusterin do not appear to be useful clinically," he noted.

Even so, research like this latest study is "important to prevent widespread adoption of tests that are not useful to answer clinical questions, such as, 'Am I going to get Alzheimer's disease?'" he added.

The study appears in the April 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information

For more about Alzheimer's disease, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Monique M.B. Breteler, M.D., Ph.D., epidemiologist, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands; Greg Cole, Ph.D., professor, medicine and neurology, and associate director, Alzheimer's Center, University of California at Los Angeles, and associate director, research, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration System; James R. Burke, M.D., Ph.D., director, Memory Disorders Clinic, and associate professor, medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; April 6, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Device drops blood pressure in patients with difficult-to-treat hypertension
2. Dangerous blood pressure increases during exercise can be blocked, UT Southwestern researchers find
3. Blood Test Holds Hope for Spotting Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers
4. University of Cincinnati team to track tumor DNA through bloodstream
5. CDC issues updated bloodstream infection prevention guidelines
6. Remove childrens catheters as soon as possible to prevent bloodstream infections
7. Case study reports singing lowers patients blood pressure prior to surgery
8. Nerve Block Treatment May Ease Stubborn High Blood Pressure
9. High Blood Pressure in Docs Office Not Always Hypertension
10. Nicotine Raises Blood Sugar Levels in Lab
11. Laughter, Music May Lower Blood Pressure, Study Says
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Blood Marker Suggests Severity of Alzheimer's Disease
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an ... recent 2015 American Dental Association meeting in Washington D.C. revolved around the fact that ... patient’s overall health. The talk stressed the link between periodontal disease (more commonly referred ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the health care in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially ... are rising, and medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases simply ... so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set of 30 ... ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any FCPX production. ... Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ease of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Intellitec ... Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end users ... Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership status ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Global Tumor Marker Testing ... and Sales Segment Forecasts, Innovative Technologies, Instrumentation ... to their offering. --> ... "2016 Global Tumor Marker Testing Market: ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... UTRECHT , Nederland, November 26, 2015 ... --> Een nieuwe aanpak combineert ... van gevorderde kanker. ... -->      (Photo: ... van het Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... the addition of the "2016 Future ... Drugs of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: