A new study have discovered a gateway to identification of Alzheimer's at early stages by studying saliva. Scientists have found that small molecules in saliva can help identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder affecting a person’s ability to think, communicate and function. It is predicted to reach epidemic proportions worldwide by 2050.
According to the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, salivary molecules hold promise as reliable diagnostic biomarkers of this neurologic condition.
Stewart Graham one of the researchers from Oakland University-William Beaumont School of Medicine in Michigan, US said, “Our team’s study demonstrates the potential for using metabolomics and saliva for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease”.
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“Given the ease and convenience of collecting saliva, the development of accurate and sensitive biomarkers would be ideal for screening those at greatest risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, unlike blood or cerebrospinal fluid, saliva is one of the most non-invasive means of getting cellular samples and it’s also inexpensive”, Graham said.
For the most effective treatment it is necessary to identify the disease at its early stages before the dementia begins.
“We used metabolomics, a newer technique to study molecules involved in metabolism. Our goal was to find unique patterns of molecules in the saliva of our study participants that could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in the earliest stages, when treatment is considered most effective”, Graham said.
“Presently, therapies for Alzheimer’s are initiated only after a patient is diagnosed and treatments offer modest benefits”, he added.
Metabolomics is used in medicine and biology for the study of living organisms. It measures large numbers of naturally occurring small molecules, called metabolites, present in the blood, saliva and tissues, which can be used to learn about the health of the organism.
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The participants in the study included 29 adults in three groups - mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and a control group.
After specimens were collected, researchers positively identified and accurately quantified 57 metabolites.
From their data, they were able to make predictions as to those at most risk of developing Alzheimer's.
"It's a necessary first step to design prevention and early-intervention research studies", said Graham.