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Blood Marker, Maybe

Levels of a blood protein biomarker help determine whether someone has Alzheimer's disease, as 360Dx reports.

It adds that two studies, one in the Journal of Experimental Medicine from a Lund University-led team and one in the Journal of the American Medical Association from a Washington University School of Medicine-led team, suggest that the level of phosphorylated tau-217 (p-tau217) in blood plasma corresponds with its level in cerebrospinal fluid. Further, the JAMA study found plasma p-tau217 levels could distinguish people with Alzheimer's disease from those without it with an accuracy of between 89 percent and 98 percent, the Associated Press adds.

"A reliable blood test for Alzheimer's disease would be a huge boost for dementia research," Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, tells the Guardian. Fiona Carragher from the Alzheimer's Society tells it that the test may also be able to distinguish people with and without Alzheimer's disease even before symptoms appear.

However, they also caution that additional tests are needed, the Guardian notes. The US National Institute on Aging's Eliezer Masliah tells the AP that the "data looks very encouraging," but that the test needs to be evaluated in larger and more diverse populations.