Researchers from three institutions claim to have found a direct relationship between two antibodies and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, lending hope to a possible diagnostic blood test for the condition in the future.
L. Stephen Miller, study co-author, said the finding could lead to the ability to identify if a person is at a higher risk for the disease.
The researchers compared the antibody levels in blood samples from 118 older adults diagnosed with dementia and focused on antibodies the body creates in response to two proteins associated with Alzheimer's.
Amyloid-beta, widely believed to be one of the primary causes of the disease, was targeted as well as another protein called RAGE, which is involved with the aging process but appears at higher levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
"Alzheimer's is an inflammatory disease of the brain, and these two antibodies give us a way to measure that inflammation," said co-author Shyamala Mruthinti.
"Using them as an early diagnostic marker may allow us to start drug treatment early, when it's most effective, to increase the patient's quality of life."
An estimated 5.2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. Assuming no medical advances are made, it's estimated the number will reach 7.7 million by 2030.