Blood: Researchers at the German Center for Degenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University Medical Center in Göttingen are studying a way to identify early signs of the development of dementia by studying blood samples.
The current research, published in the academic journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, brings the first results of experiments that analyze the level of certain molecules called microRNAs. According to the article, the high presence of certain compositions in the blood indicates a higher probability of developing cognitive disorders within a window of two to five years.
Tests performed on mice and cell cultures in the laboratory reinforce the results. Animals with a high rate of these molecules in the blood sample showed a drop in cognitive function or actually developed forms of dementia. In these cases, at least three microRNAs found in the blood were seen as a “red flag”, meaning they could also be the targets of a potential treatment.
Still distant future
The study of microRNAs in the blood can help in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cognition-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s. This is because the identification would be in the initial stages of the manifestation – the symptoms only appear when it is already in a more developed and severe stage.
The researchers’ idea is to develop a non-invasive and rapid blood test, performed in routine check-up exams, for example, which is capable of validating the presence of microRNAs and would require more specific patient care.
However, scientists reinforce that the experiments are still preliminary and the result should take some time before it is actually applied in medical examinations.