New test could detect Alzheimer’s at a very early stage

New test could detect Alzheimer's at a very early stage

A new biomarker test could detect Alzheimer’s at a very early stage.

A new biomarker discovered by scientists makes it possible to identify Alzheimer’s at a very early stage. The Director of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, Jordi Camí, said that “when symptoms appear, Alzheimer’s is in its final phase; it begins decades before.”

This statement is perfect to raise awareness of the need to prevent and invest research into this type of disease that affects almost a million people in the country and that, unfortunately, has worsened after the coronavirus health crisis.

Faced with this challenge, scientists have not ceased in their research efforts and a new study led by the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Centre (BBRC), with the encouragement of the “la Caixa” Foundation, have identified a biomarker in the blood that makes it possible to detect, in a very precise way, the initial stages of Alzheimer’s.

The biomarker is a glial fibrillar acidic protein (GFAP) that, among other things, ” will improve the diagnostic precision of the preclinical phase of Alzheimer’s through a blood test, combining the detection of the GFAP biomarker with other recently discovered,” explained Dr Marc Suárez-Calvet, principal investigator of the study and head of the Biomarkers in Fluids and Translational Neurology group at the Pasqual Maragall Foundation research centre.

A total of 900 people participated in the study, carried out by BBRC professionals, in which the importance that GFAP has been revealed.

The science

This specific brain protein of the astroglial cells is present in different functional processes and, when brain damage occurs, a reaction occurs (astrogliosis), a reaction that aims to contain the brain damage itself.

GFAP, which was previously measured in cerebrospinal fluid, is now carried out in blood plasma, which improves accuracy and is less invasive for the patient, as well as more accurately determining what stage of the disease the person is in.

This biomarker joins others, such as the tau protein, which was already known last year. Currently, the Pasqual Maragall Foundation is setting up a translational laboratory equipped with technologies such as the one used in this study, in order to bring state-of-the-art tools in Alzheimer’s disease research to Spain and put them at the service of the scientific community and the patients.

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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.