858-449-1310 contact@somatek.com

Researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai have identified four blood proteins that could serve as early biomarkers for dementia. This is important news because early, pre-symptomatic diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia could be a big step in developing treatments that prevent these diseases from progressing. In addition, a validated blood biomarker could be invaluable in evaluating treatment responses.

The research group screened blood samples from more than 50,000 healthy adults in the UK Biobank, about 3% of whom went on to develop dementia over a 14-year period. Some participants who developed dementia displayed elevated levels of these proteins more than 10 years before they began experiencing symptoms, and the researchers found that people with high levels of a structural protein uniquely found in astrocytes, GFAP, were almost three times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

According to a Nature news release, the researchers trained a machine learning model on information from two-thirds of the study participants and tested the model’s ability to predict dementia using data from the remaining third of participants.