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Biomarker Panel Detects Alzheimer's in Spinal Fluid

Biomarkers have a sensitivity and specificity of at least 90 percent

THURSDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A panel of 23 proteins found in the cerebrospinal fluid can differentiate between patients with and without Alzheimer disease with a sensitivity and specificity of at least 90 percent, according to study findings published online Dec. 13 in the Annals of Neurology.

Kelvin H. Lee, Ph.D., of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and colleagues used mass spectrometry to compare proteins found in the cerebrospinal fluid of 34 patients with Alzheimer disease and 34 matched controls.

The researchers found 23 proteins that were differentially expressed in the two sets of patients, which included proteins involved in proteolytic inhibition and the inflammatory response. The proteins were validated using cerebrospinal fluid from 18 Alzheimer disease patients and 10 matched controls to give an overall sensitivity of 93 percent, a specificity of 90 percent, and a predicted classification error of 8.3 percent.

"The method presented has shown promising results, and the next step in this investigation is to validate the results using alternative protein quantitation techniques, such as immunoassays," Lee and colleagues conclude. "These results should also be tested using a broader and more diverse sample population to get a more accurate estimation of the prediction error."

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