UK Researchers have analyzed data from 100+ sets of identical twins and noticed a blood protein that can be used for determining if a person will develop mild cognitive impairment or MCI, which is connected to many forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to the study authors from King’s College London, say that the study is the largest of its kind, as it measured more than 1,000 proteins continuously in the blood from over 200 healthy people through a protein biomarker tool called SOMAscan. A news released added that for the first time, they discovered the blood level of the protein MAPKAPK5 was, lower in individuals whose cognitive ability decreased over a decade. That decline did not depend on the age and genetics which are the two known risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
While the studies which involve MRI and PET scans have provided evidence of dementia in asymptomatic patients, researchers pointed out these tests can be expensive and time consuming. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, and previous trials for prevention have been quite a challenge because individuals at risk have to be included, who can be difficult to identify, the news release noted.
Study authors argued their finding could lead to the design of better prevention trials. Few previous studies have analyzed blood from individuals exhibiting early stages of cognitive decline, they said.
“Although we are still searching for an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, what we do know is that prevention of the disease is likely to be more effective than trying to reverse it,” lead study author Steven Kiddle, biostatics research fellow at the MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London, said in the news release. “The next step will be to confirm whether or not our initial finding is specific for Alzheimer’s disease, as this could lead to the development of a reliable blood test which would help clinicians identify suitable people for prevention trials.”