Alzheimer’s disease: New pre-onset biomarker diagnostic

alzheimers_awareness_kids_hoodie_medium

 

New research out of Spain suggests that it is possible to determine if someone will develop Alzheimers, as early as 10 years in advance, by measuring the amount of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Aside from the spinal tap, the method is straight forward Quantitative PCR (qPCR).

This is a remarkable development!  Anyone who has family or friends suffering from Alzheimers knows that current methods for diagnosis depend on the patient being symptomatic and undergoing memory and cognitive tests.  Furthermore, people who have already experienced decreased mental functions, due to Alzheimer’s, can only be maintained at present cognitive functions or have their degeneration slowed by therapy.  You can’t recover mental function with current treatments.  However, if we can diagnose people as early as 10 years in advance of onset, this will seriously improve the prognosis of those who will develop Alzheimer’s.

Reference:

Podlesniy, P., et al. 2013, Annals of Neurology

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About dylanlevac

I'm a recovering academic, who is transitioning out of research and pursuing opportunities in policy roles regulating plant biotechnology products.
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