Sugar molecule in blood can predict Alzheimer’s disease

April 25, 2023
Karolinska Institute study.

Scientists at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have identified a specific type of sugar molecule in the blood that is linked to the level of tau protein, a key player in the development of severe dementia. This discovery opens the door to a cost-effective and reliable screening method that could accurately predict Alzheimer's onset up to a decade in advance. The findings of this study have been published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institute has demonstrated that the presence of a specific glycan structure in blood, known as bisected N-acetylglucosamine, can serve as a predictive marker for Alzheimer's disease. This finding suggests that the level of this glycan structure in blood could potentially be used as an indicator of the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This discovery further underscores the potential of blood-based markers as a reliable and accessible method for early screening and detection of Alzheimer's disease, which could aid in earlier intervention and management of this neurodegenerative condition.

The findings of the study are derived from a cohort of 233 participants who were part of the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K). The samples used in the study were collected between 2001 and 2004, and the participants were closely monitored over a period of 17 years with regards to factors such as memory loss and the presence of dementia. Follow-up assessments were conducted at regular intervals of three to six years, providing a long-term perspective on the development of Alzheimer's disease and related cognitive changes in the study population. The extensive duration of the follow-up period and the comprehensive nature of the data collected provide a robust foundation for the research findings, enhancing the validity and reliability of the conclusions drawn from the study.

Karolinska Institute release