London, July 8 - British scientists have identified 10 proteins in the blood which can predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease, marking a significant step towards developing blood test for the disease, according to a scientific report published Tuesday.
The study, published in the scientific journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, was led by researchers at King's College London (KCL) and Oxford University, Xinhua reported. They analysed over 1,000 individuals and the study is the largest of its kind to date.
In the past 10 years, the research team looked for differences in the blood of 452 healthy people, 220 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 476 with Alzheimer's disease. Their blood samples were analysed for 26 proteins previously shown to be associated with Alzheimer's.
Researchers identified 16 proteins to be strongly associated with brain shrinkage in either MCI or Alzheimer's.
In a second series of tests, they identified 10 proteins whose presence could predict whether people with mild cognitive impairment would develop Alzheimer's in a year, with an accuracy of 87 percent.
Memory problems are very common, but the challenge is identifying who is likely to develop dementia, said Abdul Hye, lead author of the study from KCL.
There are thousands of proteins in the blood, and this study is the culmination of many years' work identifying which ones are clinically relevant, said Hye.
According to researchers, the next step would be to validate their findings in further sample sets, to see if they can improve accuracy and reduce the risk of misdiagnosis, and to develop a reliable test suitable to be used by doctors.