26 May 2022

Research: Blood test for Alzheimers

From Nine To Noon, 9:30 am on 26 May 2022

New research brings the possibility of a simple blood test to detect Alzheimers early a step closer. Currently there's no easy way of catching the disease early. 

But the University of Otago's just published study in Alzheimer's & Dementia, showing levels of small molecules found in blood plasma, called microRNA, change dynamically as the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease accelerate. 

This means researchers can use blood as a window into the brain, to find biomarkers to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease early, long before symptoms appear. 

More than 70,000 New Zealanders are affected by Alzheimer's disease.  This is predicted to more than double by 2050, at a cost of more than $1.7 billion a year. Associate Professor Joanna Williams, from the University of Otago's Department of Anatomy and the Otago Brain Health Research Centre is the study's team leader and speaks with Kathryn Ryan.