Plasma phospholipids identify antecedent memory impairment in older adults.

Mapstone M, Cheema AK, Fiandaca MS, Zhong X, Mhyre TR, MacArthur LH, Hall WJ, Fisher SG, Peterson DR, Haley JM, et al.
Nat Med. 2014 Apr; 20(4):415-8. PMID: 24608097. Abstract
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This paper faces a pivotal topic of AD: the identification of reliable biomarkers to diagnose the pathology during preclinical stages. Indeed, the 5-year observational study provided an interesting panel of peripheral blood lipids able to distinguish (90% accuracy)  cognitively normal subjects who will progress to amnestic MCI or mild AD from those who will remain healthy in the near future.

This report is very intresting because, for the first time, blood-based biomarkers are assayed for detecting preclinical AD, compared to CSF biomarkers that, to date, may be use only to confirm the clinical diagnosis. Moreover a blood-based biomarker panel is also more useful for screening in clinical trials and clinical practice because blood is easier to obtain and costs less to acquire.

The authors propose and validate the plasma phospholipid content as an attractive option for preclinical AD diagnostic marker. This is an exciting perspective since all currently available diagnostic markers reflect the pathological alterations that occur relatively late in pathogenesis and are either invasive, time-consuming or expensive.