Protein blood test as effective as spinal fluid analysis for diagnosing Alzheimer’s

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

Testing people’s blood for a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease called tau is just as effective for diagnosing the condition as analysing their spinal fluid, and less expensive and invasive, according to international scientists. They used a commercially available tau test on 786 people with an average age of around 66, and say it was highly accurate at predicting high levels of beta-amyloid – the protein that forms clumps in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. Brain scans were used to confirm the presence of beta-amyloid in the brains of participants who the test suggested had Alzheimer’s.

Journal/conference: JAMA Neurology

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jamaneurol.2023.5319

Organisation/s: Gothenburg University, Sweden

Funder: ALZpath provided the materials
for this study at no cost. This work was supported
by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants
(1R01AG056850-01A1; R21AG056974 and
R01AG061566 to Dr Lleó) and Department de Salut
de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Pla Estratègic de
Recerca I Innovació en Salut (SLT006/17/00119 to
Dr Fortea; SLT002/16/00408 to Dr Lleó; SLT006/
17/125 to Dr Alcolea). It was also supported by
Horizon 2020–Research and Innovation Framework
Programme from the European Union
(H2020-SC1-BHC-2018-2020 to Dr Fortea). Drs
Lleó, Alcolea, and Fortea were supported by the
Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitario, Carlos III Health
Institute (PI20/01330 to Dr Lleó, PI18/00435 and
INT19/00016 to Dr Alcolea, PI20/01473 to Dr
Fortea) and the Centro de Investigación Biomédica
en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas
(CIBERNED) Program 1. Dr Blennow is supported by
the Swedish Research Council (2017-00915 and
2022-00732), Swedish Alzheimer Foundation
(AF-930351, AF-939721, and AF-968270),
Hjärnfonden, Sweden (FO2017-0243 and
ALZ2022-0006), Swedish state under the
agreement between the Swedish government and
the County Councils, ALF-agreement
(ALFGBG-715986 and ALFGBG-965240), European
Union Joint Program for Neurodegenerative
Disorders (JPND2019-466-236), Alzheimer’s
Association 2021 Zenith Award (ZEN-21-848495),
and Alzheimer’s Association 2022-2025 grant
(SG-23-1038904 QC). Dr Zetterberg is aWallenberg
Scholar supported by grants from the Swedish
Research Council (2022-01018 and 2019-02397),
European Union’s Horizon Europe research and
innovation programme (grant agreement
101053962), Swedish State Support for Clinical
Research (ALFGBG-71320), Alzheimer Drug
Discovery Foundation (201809-2016862), AD
Strategic Fund, and Alzheimer’s Association
(ADSF-21-831376-C, ADSF-21-831381-C, and
ADSF-21-831377-C), Bluefield Project, Olav Thon
Foundation, Erling-Persson Family Foundation,
Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor, Hjärnfonden,
Sweden (FO2022-0270), European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
(Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement 860197,
MIRIADE), European Union Joint Programme–
Neurodegenerative Disease Research
(JPND2021-00694), National Institute for Health
and Care Research University College London
Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, and UK
Dementia Research Institute at UCL (UKDRI-1003).
The Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention
is supported by NIH grants AG027161 and


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