Research conducted at a university in Sweden suggests middle-aged women with high levels of a certain amino acid in their blood could eventually require Alzheimer's care.
The work was based on a prospective population study of women in Gothenburg, Sweden, and could mean that determining which women will need Alzheimer's care might be as easy as taking a blood sample. Nearly 1,500 women between the ages of 38 and 60 had blood tests as part of the study, and the samples have all been analyzed and compared to records of who eventually developed Alzheimer's disease (AD).
"Alzheimer's disease was more than twice as common among the women with the highest levels of homocysteine than among those with the lowest, and the risk for any kind of dementia was 70 percent higher," said Dr Dimitri Zylberstein, who conducted the research.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that affects the body's metabolism.
High levels of this amino acid can damage blood vessels and lead to blood clots. Now some experts believe it could be associated with dementia.
The Mayo Clinic says AD is incurable but also that support and affection from loved ones can improve the quality of life for people who suffer from the disease.