Scientists can detect Alzheimer's disease up to 30 years in advance
BALTIMORE — Researchers have identified a range of biomarkers that could determine if an individual develops Alzheimer's disease years in advance, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
In a John Hopkins university press release, Laurent Younes, a researcher involved with the study, said that brain imaging and spinal fluid analysis could be used to examine the risk of Alzheimer's at least 10 years before symptoms appear.
Scientists tested their studies on 290 participants over the age of 40.
Those who were part of the study had at least one first degree relative with a form of Alzheimer's.
Participants of the study were asked to conduct memory, learning, reading and attention tests annually from 1995 to 2013.
The researchers found an increase of the tau protein present in the cerebrospinal fluid around 30 years before any symptoms of Alzheimer's appeared.
Proteins such as amyloid beta and phosphorylated tau also started to appear around 10 to 15 years before the indications of Alzheimers began to manifest.
Scientists also found a slight decrease in the size of the medial temporal lobe in the brain, three to nine years before any cognitive impairment was noticeable.
This part of the brain is responsible for memory.
By the end of the study, 81 participants had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers plan to conduct further studies in five different research sites around the world to compare data, according to the study.