When the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia appear, the brain damage has already progressed so far that therapy would probably hardly be effective. With a new blood test, an international team of researchers under German leadership has already been able to demonstrate the early stage of the disease and predict the further course.
The test measures the concentration of a protein that is released when brain cells die and enter the blood. The process is easier and cheaper than brain scans or the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, the scientists write in the journal “Nature Medicine”. The blood test should not be used for diagnosis, but as an aid to assessing the effectiveness of early experimental therapies.
It should be noted that the neurofilaments can be detected not only in Alzheimer’s in the blood but also in other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Huntington as well as in severe skull injuries. Therefore, the blood test is not suitable for diagnosing Alzheimer’s. Rather, it would be a valuable tool for checking the effectiveness of new therapies in clinical studies at an early stage of the disease.