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Efforts to develop a blood test for Alzheimer's disease are progressing, as a new study co-authored by experts from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found a group of biomarkers that hold up in statistical analyses in three independent groups of patients. The study, a unique collaborative effort between researchers at Penn, Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta and Washington University in St. Louis as well as the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), was just published online in Neurology.
Previous efforts to develop better and more clinically useful Alzheimer's diagnostic tests, including research from Penn, have focused on spinal fluid biomarkers and radiologic tests like MRIs and PET scans. These newer tests can detect various levels of proteins implicated in the Alzheimer's disease process, such as amyloid-beta and tau proteins. In this study, researchers found that the levels or amounts of four different biomarkers detected in blood plasma were different in people with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's, when compared to healthy controls.
The research team from Penn included Steven E. Arnold, MD, Jason Karlawish, MD, Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, MBA, and John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD.