Dementia risk can be assayed by determining the levels of two proteins in the blood of the patient. The two proteins play an important role in determining the risk of dementia in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Increased levels of one amyloid protein and decreased levels of another were found to be associated with a 10-fold increased dementia risk. The Dutch researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center are analyzing the possibility of using these markers in the dementia blood test. Initial research in this area showed that mutations that are responsible for the early-onset Alzheimer's disease have high blood concentrations of amyloid proteins.
Hence Dr Monique Breteler and her team wanted to unravel the relationship between dementia and the increased blood concentrations of amyloid proteins. The researchers analysed 1,756 people who were at a high risk for dementia with 392 of them developing dementia over an eight-year period. It was found that increased blood concentrations of the amyloid protein, Aß1-40 and the decreased concentration of another amyloid protein, Aß1-42 were found to be associated with an increased risk of dementia. The study results were published in the journal Lancet Neurology.