Sugar Molecule in Blood Can Help Predict Alzheimer’s Disease

Early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease requires reliable and cost-effective screening methods. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now discovered that a type of sugar molecule in blood is associated with the level of tau, a protein that plays a critical role in the development of severe dementia. The study, which was published on April 12, 2023 in Alzheimer's & Dementia, can pave the way for a simple screening procedure able to predict onset ten years in advance. The open-access article is titledA Glycan Epitope Correlates with Tau in Serum and Predicts Progression to Alzheimer’s Disease in Combination with APOE4 Allele Status.” “The role of glycans, structures made up of sugar molecules, is a relatively unexplored field in dementia research,” says the study’s first author Robin Zhou, medical student and affiliated researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Karolinska Institutet. “We demonstrate in our study that blood levels of glycans are altered early during the development of the disease. This could mean that we’ll be able to predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease with only a blood test and a memory test.”

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