Study examines link between blood biomarkers and risk of Alzheimer's disease

March 26, 2012

A meta-analysis of previously published studies found that the ratio of blood plasma amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides Aβ42:Aβ40 was significantly associated with development of Alzheimer disease and dementia, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Neurology.

"Plasma levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides have been a principal focus of the growing literature on blood-based , but studies to date have varied in design, assay methods, and sample size, making it difficult to readily interpret the overall data," the authors write as background in the study.

Alain Koyama, S.M., then of Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, now with the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 13 previously published studies to examine the association between plasma amyloid-β and development of , Alzheimer disease (AD) and cognitive decline.

The 13 studies included in the analysis had a total of 10,303 participants, and were published between 1995 and 2011. The studies also included measurement of at least one relevant plasma amyloid-β species (Aβ40, Aβ42, or Aβ42: Aβ40 ratio) and reported an effect estimate for dementia, AD or cognitive decline.

The authors found that lower Aβ42: Aβ40 ratios were significantly associated with development of Alzheimer disease and dementia, with most studies in the analysis reporting similar findings. Plasma levels of Aβ40 and Aβ42 alone, however, were not significantly associated with either outcome.

"In conclusion, despite the limitations of existing research and heterogeneity across the studies considered, this systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that the ratio of plasma Aβ42: Aβ40 may have value in predicting the risk for later development of dementia or AD and merits further investigation."

More information: Arch Neurol. Published online March 26, 2012. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.1841

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Research grasps how the brain plans gripping motion

July 28, 2015

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates commands for the hand to grip an object. The advance could lead to improvements in future brain-computer interfaces that ...

New research rethinks how we grab and hold onto objects

July 28, 2015

It's been a long day. You open your fridge and grab a nice, cold beer. A pretty simple task, right? Wrong. While you're debating between an IPA and a lager, your nervous system is calculating a complex problem: how hard to ...

It don't mean a thing if the brain ain't got that swing

July 27, 2015

Like Duke Ellington's 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another ...

Static synapses on a moving structure: Mind the gap!

July 22, 2015

In biology, stability is important. From body temperature to blood pressure and sugar levels, our body ensures that these remain within reasonable limits and do not reach potentially damaging extremes. Neurons in the brain ...

Sleep makes our memories more accessible, study shows

July 27, 2015

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.