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Serum Protein Biomarker Analysis Diagnoses Alzheimer’s

Last Updated: September 13, 2010.

A new risk model uses serum protein biomarkers to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology. According to a pilot study published online Sept. 13 in the same journal, pioglitazone is well tolerated as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

MONDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A new risk model uses serum protein biomarkers to diagnose Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology. According to a pilot study published online Sept. 13 in the same journal, pioglitazone is well tolerated as a treatment for AD.

Sid E. O'Bryant, Ph.D., of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, and colleagues conducted an analysis of protein biomarker data from blood samples of 197 patients with AD and 203 subjects without AD. The sample was randomized into test and training sets, and then random forest methods were applied to the training set to come up with a biomarker risk score. The biomarker risk score had a sensitivity and specificity of 0.80 and 0.91, respectively, for detecting AD. After adding age, sex, education, and APOE status to the algorithm, the sensitivity and specificity were 0.94 and 0.84, respectively.

David S. Geldmacher, M.D., of the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, and colleagues randomized 29 AD patients without diabetes to treatment with the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonist pioglitazone or placebo, and daily vitamin E. Patients maintained cholinesterase inhibitor treatment and could start memantine therapy when available. Peripheral edema, the primary adverse event, occurred in 28.6 percent of subjects taking pioglitazone and in none of those taking placebo. However, no significant treatment effect was observed on analysis of clinical efficacy. Pioglitazone was generally well tolerated, and the researchers observed no unanticipated or serious adverse events or clinical laboratory changes due to pioglitazone over long-term exposure.

"The tolerability of pioglitazone in this population and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma effects in laboratory models of AD support further study of this drug class in earlier disease stages," Geldmacher and colleagues conclude.

Several authors of the first study have filed a patent on the AD biomarker risk model. Two authors of the second study disclosed financial ties to GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the latter of which provided pioglitazone and placebo for the study.

Abstract - O'Bryant
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Abstract - Geldmacher
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