Possible Marker for Alzheimer's Disease Found

Measuring antibody levels may lead to early diagnosis of mind-robbing condition

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WEDNESDAY, June 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Measuring levels of certain antibodies may improve diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, say researchers at the Medical College of Georgia and Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta.

They studied leukocytes -- white blood cells that are part of the immune system -- in 33 Alzheimer's patients and 42 healthy people. They found that leukocytes in Alzheimer's patients had four times higher levels of markers for amyloid-b peptide and receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE).

The findings could help scientists develop a method for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's, when treatment has the most potential to help. It could also lead to a way to identify people at risk of the disease and to the development of a new treatments.

The study results lend support to the theory that autoimmunity and resulting inflammation play a major role in Alzheimer's.

The study will appear in the September issue of the Neurobiology of Aging.

More information

The National Women's Health Information Center has more about Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, June 2, 2004

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