Urine test identifies early-stage Alzheimer’s disease – News

A simple urine test may, in the future, be able to diagnose patients with Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage, even before symptoms appear.

The technique was developed by researchers from China, and the results were published this week in the scientific journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

The method consists of identifying a biomarker, formic acid, which can reveal the existence of Alzheimer’s.

This would be a possible tool on a large scale, say the developers, given that current ways of diagnosing Alzheimer’s are expensive, inconvenient and inadequate for routine testing.

“The early stages of the disease occur before the irreversible dementia stage, and this is the golden window for intervention and treatment. Therefore, large-scale screening for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease is necessary for the elderly,” say the researchers. study authors.

Current means of identifying Alzheimer’s include CT scans that expose the patient to radiation or blood draws that require a lumbar puncture to obtain cerebrospinal fluid.

Urinalysis appears in this context as something non-invasive and inexpensive.

Formic acid

The Alzheimer’s biomarker studied by the Chinese researchers is formic acid, a metabolic product of formaldehyde, the latter already previously investigated for its relationship with the disease.

In the study, 574 healthy people with normal cognition or with different degrees of Alzheimer’s progression – from subjective cognitive decline to full disease – were recruited.

All urine samples were analyzed, in addition to having undergone psychological evaluations.

In urine samples, the scientists observed that formic acid levels were significantly higher in Alzheimer’s patients compared to healthy ones.

It was also noted that formic acid was higher even in those whose disease did not yet show signs of progression.

The study authors compared the urine results with blood tests that also identify Alzheimer’s biomarkers and concluded that the former were more accurate in identifying the disease in its early stages.

“Urinary formic acid showed excellent sensitivity for early Alzheimer’s screening. Detection of Alzheimer’s biomarkers in urine is convenient and cost-effective, and should be performed during routine physical examinations in the elderly,” they state.

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