Ahead of the disease by 15 years: scientists have discovered blood proteins that can warn of the development of dementia

Ahead of the disease by 15 years: scientists have discovered blood proteins that can warn of the development of dementia


Scientists have discovered four proteins that can predict the development of dementia almost 15 years before diagnosis.

This was reported by The Guardian with reference to a study published in the scientific journal Nature Aging.

When combined with traditional risk factors (age, sex, education and genetic predisposition), the protein profiles predicted dementia with 90% accuracy nearly 15 years before people were formally diagnosed.

For the study, Chinese scientists used blood samples from more than 52,000 healthy British adults from the UK Biobank database. They were collected and frozen between 2006 and 2010. More than 1.4 thousand of all participants fell ill with dementia.

Researchers have identified four proteins that may indicate the development of dementia. Photo: TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

With the help of artificial intelligence, researchers looked for a connection between almost 1.5 thousand blood proteins and the development of dementia in the future. They found four proteins that were present in unusual amounts in those people who developed the disease at an older age. These are Gfap, Nefl, Gdf15 and Ltbp2.

Inflammation in the brain can trigger astrocytes to overproduce Gfap, a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. Another blood protein, Nefl, is associated with damage to nerve fibers. At the same time, a higher than normal level of Gdf15 can occur after damage to the blood vessels of the brain.

The scientists found that increased levels of Gfap and Ltbp2 are highly specific for dementia. Moreover, changes occur at least 10 years before people are given an official diagnosis.

The researchers are currently negotiating with various companies to develop a test based on the data obtained. However, further research is needed to definitively assess its effectiveness.

In total, more than 55 million people worldwide live with dementia. Scientists expect this figure to reach 78 million by 2030.

About 70% of all dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Another 20% of cases are caused by vascular dementia, which occurs due to damage to blood vessels.

It will be recalled that scientists have established that playing a musical instrument can delay the development of dementia or even prevent its onset.

Read also: Scientists have identified 15 factors that significantly increase the risk of developing early dementia



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