New Blood Test Can Detect Alzheimer’s Changes

June 12, 2023 — Per a News Release from the Department of Neurosurgical Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh,  Pitt researchers have identified a potential biomarker for early screening of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  This blood test could possibly allow physicians to identify those at significant risk for the disease and potentially offering early therapeutic treatment options, according to findings published online in the leading journal, ACS Chemical Neuroscience. The research team includes Pravat Mandal, PhD, former director-in-charge of the National Brain Research Institute of India, adjunct professor of neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh and senior research scientist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia. He collaborated with Joseph Maroon, MD, clinical professor and Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.

They discovered that in normal patients at all ages, brain and blood glutathione (GSH) levels and metallic profiles are maintained in a balanced state. They also reviewed their earlier study in which they documented lower blood GSH and increased iron levels in the brain in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and with confirmed AD.

How to Understand this?  Oxidative stress (OS) is associated with many neurodegenerative conditions of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Iron can cause oxidative stress.  The rust we see on the metal iron exposed to the environment is an example of oxidation.  A similar process can occur in the brain from too much iron.  The researchers knew this but focused on the brain’s major antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), that functions to reduce oxidative stress. Lower levels of blood flow through the brain along with increased iron were found to deplete glutathione.  And a blood test to measure this was tested in people who have Alzheimer’s disease and compared to those who did not.  They discover significantly lower levels of GSH in those with Alzheimer’s disease.  This could be an early tool to have diagnose this terrible disease and allow earlier treatments and therapies to start.


Reference: Pravat K. Mandal, Divya Dwivedi, Shallu Joon, Anshika Goel, Zoheb Ahasan, Joseph C. Maroon, Padam Singh, Renu Saxena, and Rimil Guha Roy
ACS Chemical Neuroscience Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.3c00168