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article imageIs a blood test for Alzheimer’s possible?

By Tim Sandle     Aug 3, 2013 in Health
According to a new research paper, a new blood test has been developed which predicts Alzheimer’s disease with 93 percent accuracy.
By testing the blood of 202 people for 140 different fragments of RNA, the BBC reports that a team of researchers at Saarland University, in Germany, identified 12 RNA fragments circulating at consistently different levels in healthy people and patients with Alzheimer’s. RNA stands for ribonucleic acid. It is an important molecule with long chains of nucleotides. RNA is vital for living beings, this is because RNA molecules are involved in protein synthesis and sometimes in the transmission of genetic information.
The neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease starts years before symptoms of dementia appear. Medics hope that the new test’s high degree of accuracy could help doctors diagnose the disease before large brain regions are damaged.
Dr Eric Karran, from the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, told BBC Science that: "This is an interesting approach to studying changes in blood in Alzheimer's and suggests that microRNAs could be playing a role in the disease.
"The findings highlight the importance of continuing research efforts to understand the contribution of microRNAs to Alzheimer's, but the translation of this into a blood test for Alzheimer's in the clinic is still some way off.
"A blood test to help detect Alzheimer's could be a useful addition to a doctor's diagnostic armoury, but such a test must be well validated before it's considered for use. We need to see these findings confirmed in larger samples and more work is needed to improve the test's ability to distinguish Alzheimer's from other neurological conditions."
The new invention has been published in the journal Genome Biology.
More about Alzheimers, Blood test, Alzheimers Disease, Brain, Dementia
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