Study employs inflammatory proteins to diagnose the early onset of Alzheimer’s

According to recent research carried out at Rutgers, investigating for some inflammatory proteins linked with the nervous and immune systems will enable diagnosis of the earlier onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Study employs inflammatory proteins to diagnose the early onset of Alzheimer’s
Researchers say testing for Alzheimer’s and these inflammatory proteins from a single spinal fluid procedure will eliminate unnecessary testing routines, including repeated PET scans, that many Alzheimer’s patients go through. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The researchers examined 15 cerebrospinal fluid proteins associated with cells in the nervous and immune systems in 382 participants. The scientists identified that a group of proteins represented by TNFR1 was linked with a slower decline in the initial stage of Alzheimer’s, while another protein named TREM2 was only helpful when dementia commences. The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth major cause of death in the United States and the fifth major cause of death among Americans aged 65 or older. Researchers were able to identify the disease for several years, but they have been unable to pinpoint when individuals with the earliest cognitive symptoms will display the progression of the disease.

The scientists state that this research is the first of its kind that offers an understanding of how Alzheimer’s disease progresses, which can be easily utilized in the clinic. For most families, the knowledge of whether having a fast or slow form of the disease for a loved one would help customize treatment plans.

For many years, the ability to identify the slower or faster progression of Alzheimer’s disease eluded the medical community. We hope our study will provide many families with the ease and ability to make certain plans for their loved ones and to bring some equity when undergoing tests during the initial diagnosis of the disease.”

William Hu, Associate Professor and Chief, Cognitive Neurology, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Scientists assert that testing for Alzheimer’s and these inflammatory proteins from a single spinal fluid procedure will avoid the need for unwanted testing routines, including repeated PET scans, which most Alzheimer’s patients undergo.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent type of dementia, with more than 5.8 million Americans surviving the disease. The CDC estimates this number will increase two-fold every five years for individuals above age 65.

Dr Hu is collaborating with Rutgers Innovation Ventures to convert this finding into a clinical test and design clinical trials to investigate the results of this research further.

Source:
Journal reference:

Hu, W. T., et al. (2021) Higher CSF sTNFR1-related proteins associate with better prognosis in very early Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24220-7.

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