Book Your Appointment



Book Now

Our Concierge


    Can dementia be detected from a blood test? Let’s find out

    By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 12, 2023

    Dementia, a debilitating neurological condition, affects millions of people worldwide. The alarming rise in dementia cases has led researchers to explore innovative methods of early detection. In a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers at the DZNE and the University Medical Center Gottingen (UMG), molecules in the blood have been identified that could potentially indicate the onset of dementia.

    The Power of MicroRNAs

    The research, published in the scientific journal “EMBO Molecular Medicine,” focuses on a specific group of molecules called microRNAs. MicroRNAs play a crucial role in regulating protein production and are involved in the metabolic processes of all living organisms. The researchers, led by Prof. Andre Fischer, aimed to determine if specific microRNAs could be linked to mental fitness.

    Through extensive analysis of data from human studies, mice, and cell cultures, the researchers identified three microRNAs that showed a correlation with mental performance. Remarkably, lower levels of these microRNAs were associated with better cognitive abilities in healthy individuals. In mice, elevated levels of these microRNAs predicted mental decline, irrespective of age or symptoms resembling Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who showcased high levels of the blood marker had a 90% chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease within two years. It is estimated that this biomarker could provide a glimpse into dementia development two to five years in advance.

    A Glimmer of Hope for Early Intervention

    The discovery of these microRNAs as potential indicators of dementia is a significant breakthrough. Early detection of dementia is vital for effective treatment and management of the disease, as symptoms often manifest when the brain is already significantly damaged. Prof. Fischer explains, “We need tests that ideally respond before the onset of dementia and reliably estimate the risk of later disease. In other words, tests that give an early warning.” This study brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.

    Opening Doors for Potential Therapy

    In addition to serving as warning signals, the three identified microRNAs have shown promise as potential targets for therapy. The researchers found that these microRNAs influence inflammatory processes in the brain and neuroplasticity, which involves the brain’s ability to form connections between neurons. This suggests that the microRNAs actively impact pathological processes and could be harnessed for therapeutic interventions. Excitingly, when these microRNAs were blocked with drugs in mice, their learning ability improved. These positive results were observed in both mice with age-related mental deficits and those with brain damage similar to that seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

    Embracing the Future

    While the technique of measuring microRNAs in the blood is not yet suitable for routine medical care, this study paves the way for the development of a simple blood test that could assess the risk of dementia. Detecting dementia early on offers the potential for interventions and treatments that can positively influence the course of the disease. The researchers express confidence that their findings will contribute to the development of tests that provide early warnings and estimate the risk of dementia.

    Dementia is a formidable opponent, but with innovative research like this, hope shines brightly. The identification of these microRNAs as potential biomarkers and therapy targets brings us one step closer to detecting dementia earlier and opening doors to effective interventions that can improve the lives of those affected.

    Was this page helpful?

    The newsletter focused on health and well-being that you’ve been seeking

    Are you intrigued by exclusive interviews, essential products, and staying in the know with the latest news? You won’t want to overlook.

      Your privacy is important to us