Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified a new set of molecular markers in blood plasma. This discovery might lead to the development of better diagnostic tests for Alzheimer''s disease. Alzheimer''s disease is the most common form ofdementia, which has affected 6.2 million people in the United States.
TheMayo Clinic study, published ineBioMedicine, is the first to highlight RNA molecules in plasma as biomarkers for Alzheimer''s disease in African Americans, the population at greatest risk for developing Alzheimer''s disease. This approach allowed researchers to identify specific molecules in plasma that might serve as biomarkers to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer''s disease in this population.
The study builds on previous research that identified genetic risk factors for Alzheimer''s disease and established that RNA molecules in blood plasma might be utilized as biomarkers.
In a series of experiments, researchers examined blood plasma messenger RNA molecules in 151 African Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer''s disease and 269 African Americans diagnosed with cognitively impairment with a clinical evaluation scale of zero. These findings demonstrated that when six messenger RNA molecules encoded by genesCLU, APP, CD14, ABCA7, andAPOE were evaluated in their statistical studies, they improved their ability to accurately identify participants with Alzheimer''s diagnosis by 8%. These findings demonstrate that this is an improvement compared to those that indicate
The researchers believe this discovery will lead to better understanding of Alzheimer''s disease for everybody, especially for those at greatest risk.
"Having a large panel of biomarkers for screening will aid in early detection of Alzheimer''s disease," says the researcher, who has worked in the Mayo Clinic, and believes the program will increase the number of interventions that will prevent and mitigate the onset of the illness. "This issue might be particularly relevant for African Americans, a population underrepresented in Alzheimer''s disease research, which was the focus of this study."
These findings suggest that they may enable the development of more accessible, minimally invasive screening options, thereby improving disease management.
"Many screening tests for Alzheimer''s disease may not be accessible to all patients due to rising cost or lack of availability at health facilities in their area," says Minerva Carrasquillo, a Mayo Clinic neurogeneticist and senior author. "Some tests rely on complex imaging techniques, or on obtaining a plasma sample. In most clinical settings, obtaining a blood draw is a normal procedure."
Future research will focus on identifying additional genetic biomarkers in blood plasma that might improve the accuracy of Alzheimer''s disease diagnostic tests, according to researchers.