A simple urine test could improve the diagnosis of Alzheimer's
Many people in Germany suffer from Alzheimer's disease, which has so far been very difficult to prove. In addition, a diagnosis is relatively complex and places a heavy burden on the body of those affected. Researchers have now succeeded in diagnosing Alzheimer's by analyzing a sample of urine. Such an examination could identify those affected in the early stages of the disease. This enables a more effective treatment of Alzheimer's.
Researchers at Tianjin Medical University in China have now found that Alzheimer's can be detected in urine. Previous methods of diagnosis put a lot of strain on the body of those affected, and such a procedure is still very expensive. The doctors published the results of their current investigation in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
People over the age of 65 are particularly likely to develop Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's disease (Alzheimer's disease) is a so-called neurodegenerative disease, which often only occurs at an advanced age. People over the age of 65 are probably the majority of those affected.
Which procedure has been used to diagnose Alzheimer's so far?
A diagnosis is usually used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, which can identify the deposits typical of Alzheimer's. These deposits are also known as plaques, the experts say. However, such tests have some disadvantages, they are not available everywhere and are also very expensive. In addition, the procedure puts a lot of strain on the body of the sick, because it works with radioactive radiation, the scientists add.
Researchers were looking for a non-invasive form of diagnosis
It is also possible to identify the parts of the deposits and degradation products that are typical of the process of the disease in the brain-spinal fluid of the sufferer, explain the doctors. Unfortunately, the removal of the fluid is a fairly strong intervention for the body and involves various health risks. Researchers have been looking for alternatives that provide a cheaper and non-invasive form of diagnosis for a long time.
The protein AD7c-NTP can indicate Alzheimer's in the urine
The research team from China analyzed another possibility for a new diagnostic method in order to identify indications of an impending illness from Alzheimer's early on. It was the urine of those affected. The doctors had found that the protein AD7c-NTP can be detected in the urine, which is a trigger for the death of nerve cells and malfunctions of the mitochondria. This protein is also detectable in brain tissue or in the brain spinal fluid.
Doctors examine urine from 30 subjects
In their study, the scientists examined a total of 22 participants who already had mild or moderate Alzheimer's disease. The experts wanted to find out how reliable a diagnosis based on a urine sample really is. The results obtained were then compared with the data from eight subjects with mild cognitive impairment (LKB). The medical team examined the relationship between the AD7c-NTP protein in the urine and any deposits in the brain, clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's, or mild cognitive impairment.
Laboratory analysis calculates concentration of AD7c-NTP
The experts say that the focus was on determining what are known as Alzheimer's plaques. The imaging method used to measure the amount of deposits typical of an Alzheimer's disease in all participants. The concentration of the protein AD7c-NTP was later determined in the laboratory when the urine was analyzed. The doctors also examined the test persons for the first signs of dementia, such as impaired thinking and behavioral problems. Two different tests were used for this.
Researchers find deposits in almost 64 percent of the subjects with Alzheimer's
A total of 14 out of 22 of the subjects with Alzheimer's disease (63.6 percent) and two out of eight participants with a slight cognitive impairment (25 percent) were found to be typical for Alzheimer's. The experts also observed that the amount of protein AD7c-NTP in the urine was higher when the typical deposits were present in the subjects compared to patients without such deposits. Such an analysis of the urine made it possible to determine which people were probably already suffering from Alzheimer's and which subjects had no such disease. In various tests of mental performance and psychiatric examinations, however, there was, apart from one value, no agreement with the value found in the urine. It could be observed, however, that the restlessness that frequently occurs in dementia patients is increasingly detectable even with a high concentration of AD7c-NTP.
Concentration of AD7c-NTP in urine is a good way to predict Alzheimer's disease
The concentration of the AD7c-NTP protein in the urine, which leads to nerve damage, is a good way of predicting the deposits in the brain that are typical of Alzheimer's. Hopefully, this type of urine test will lead to a cheap, fast, and patient-friendly diagnostic alternative in the future, the researchers say. Using the new diagnostic method in clinics and hospitals could also help people in the early stages of the disease to effectively recognize the disease and thus enable them to receive optimized treatment more quickly. (As)