Researchers at the University of Texas, in Houston, analysed CSF samples from 50 people with Alzheimer’s disease, 37 people with other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and 39 people with other brain diseases who had normal memory and thinking abilities. They set out to discover whether small fragments of the protein amyloid, which accumulates into clumps in the brain during Alzheimer’s, were present in the CSF of people with the disease.
Their results showed more of these fragments of protein in the CSF of people with Alzheimer’s compared to those with other diseases. The researchers suggest that more research is needed to explore whether the method could detect the disease at its earliest stages.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“This very small study suggests a potential way to identify people with Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s too early to tell how accurate this method might be or whether it can distinguish people with the disease from healthy people. We need to see further research in much larger groups of people before we can know whether this approach will be successful.
“Diagnosing Alzheimer’s can be difficult, and the ability to give an accurate diagnosis would be a real boost, allowing people access to the right care and existing treatments. The ability to detect Alzheimer’s accurately is also a key goal for research, as it’s important to be able to test potential new treatments in the right people. Investment in research is vital to develop better diagnosis tools and, crucially, for better treatments to be made available to those who desperately need them.”
Source: alzheimers Research