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A blood test could predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A new blood test might reveal whether someone is at risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

The test measures blood plasma levels of a sticky protein called amyloid-beta. This protein can start building up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients decades before there’s any outward signs of the disease. Typically, it takes a brain scan or spinal tap to discover these A-beta clumps, or plaques, in the brain. But evidence is growing that A-beta levels in the blood can be used to predict whether or not a person has these brain plaques, researchers report online January 31 in Nature.

These new results mirror those of a smaller 2017 study by a different team of scientists. “It’s a fantastic confirmation of the findings,” says Randall Bateman, an Alzheimer’s researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who led the earlier study. “What this tells us is that we can move forward with this [test] approach with fairly high confidence that this is going to pan out.”

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Written by LAUREL HAMERS for


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