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A Biomarker to Detect Alzheimer's Through Blood test

Update Date: Jul 19, 2012 03:09 PM EDT

In a latest study, a 'biomarker' has been found in the blood that may help indicate and predict a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers tested blood samples of 99 women between the age of 70 and 80 and checked for levels of a fatty compound called ceramides, which is linked to inflammation and cell death.

When the women were followed up after 9 years, 27 of them reportedly had developed dementia, 18 of whom had perhaps contracted Alzheimer's disease.

The study findings revealed that ceramides level in women's blood was directly proportional to their chances of contracting Alzheimer's disease. Compared to women with the lowest levels of ceramides, those with the highest levels were at 10 times more risk of contracting the disease, according to the findings.

"Our study identifies this biomarker as a potential new target for treating or preventing Alzheimer's disease," Michelle Mielke, an epidemiologist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. She was with Johns Hopkins University at the time of the research.

The study is of particular importance for further research into the prevention of this disease.

"These findings are important because identifying an accurate biomarker for early Alzheimer's that requires little cost and inconvenience to a patient and could help change our focus from treating the disease to preventing or delaying it," Valory Pavlik, of the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, wrote in an accompanying editorial according to Heal Day.

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