What is the significance of this study?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. AD leads to changes in the brain, loss of memory and cognitive function. AD has been researched extensively and there are certain measurable indicators that occur in the body years before the symptoms of AD appear. One of the early indicators of AD risk progression is a change in the production and/or removal of amyloid beta (Aβ) from the body. Aβ is a protein that forms plaques in the brain, which is one indication of Alzheimer’s disease. This protein is the earliest contributor to the progression of AD.

Dr. Randall Bateman and his laboratory at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have pioneered a novel stable isotope labeling kinetics (SILK) technique that measures Aβ metabolism in humans. This technique enables scientists to measure Aβ in humans. So far, highly effective therapies and simple, non-invasive diagnostic tests are not currently available. This makes finding therapeutic treatments for AD difficult and costly. 

This study aims to determine how well a blood test can identify amyloid plaque development up to 20 years before the appearance of AD symptoms. The potential benefits of a simple blood test to study amyloid beta are significant. This data would examine whether this blood test could serve as a diagnostic for Alzheimer’s disease.

What research has been conducted?

Research has been done in the Bateman Laboratory to study amyloid beta in the blood. These studies compared the measurements of Aβ values with known tests of Alzheimer’s disease such as amyloid PET scans and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers. It was found that a blood amyloid test could potentially serve as a less invasive and more affordable method for detecting AD in individuals even before they are clinically diagnosed.

Over 400 participants in the St. Louis area have made a blood donation to our study. Thank you for your commitment to fighting this terrible disease!

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