A protein in spinal fluid could be used to predict the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to German researchers.
Patients with high levels of the chemical – soluble amyloid precursor protein beta – were more likely to develop the disease, they found.
Doctors analysed samples of spinal fluid from 58 patients with mild cognitive impairment, a memory-loss condition which can lead to Alzheimer’s.
The patients were followed for three years. Around a third developed Alzheimer’s.
Those who developed the illness had, on average, 1,200 nanograms/ml of the protein in the spinal fluid at the start of the study.
Those who did not started with just 932 nanograms/ml.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. If a treatment is developed, it is thought that it would need to be delivered early, before any permanent damage was done.