Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, US, have identified certain blood molecules that could help indicate the level of risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The new findings are the first of their kind to suggest that higher levels of branched-chain amino acids in an individual’s blood could be a strong indicator for a lower risk of developing dementia.
Branched-chain amino acids are nutrients the body needs and can be acquired from protein-rich foods such as meat and legumes.
Not a straightforward disease
In the report, co-senior study author Sudha Seshadri, professor of neurology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and colleagues outline how scientists are starting to realise that dementia is not as straightforward a disease as once thought.
Seshadri said: “It is now recognised that we need to look beyond the traditionally studied amyloid and tau pathways and understand the entire spectrum of pathology involved in persons who present with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”
Researchers have typically looked for answers in the brain, where signs of Alzheimer’s disease can be found in the form of faulty tau and amyloid proteins.
Now, the search has widened and started to include other parts of the body that have an intimate relationship with the brain, such as the bloodstream.
What did the results show?
The results demonstrated that some of the baseline blood molecules were associated with a lower risk of dementia, while others were associated with a higher risk.
Similarly, some of the molecules were linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and others to a higher risk.
The associations were as follows:
- Lower dementia risk was linked to the branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine, and valine; creatinine; and two very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) subclasses;
- Lower Alzheimer’s risk was similarly linked to branched-chain amino acids;
- Increased risk of dementia was linked to one high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and one VLDL subclass; and
- Higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease was also linked to an HDL subclass.
Source: Medical News Today