A Lund University Study confirms that a simple blood test can reveal whether there is accelerating nerve cell damage in the brain. The researchers analyzed neurofilament light protein (NFL) in blood samples from patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The study suggests that the NFL concentration in the blood could be abler to indicate if a drug actually affects the loss of nerve cells.

The Study

The Lund University and Skane Hospital team from Sweden team collected blood samples over several years from 1,182 patients with varying degrees of cognitive impairment as well as from 401 healthy participants from a control group.

The team then utilized Neurofilament light protein (NFL) to measure the presence of certain substances in the blood that can indicate damage in the brain and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s disease.

When nerve cells in the brain are damaged or die, NFL protein leaks into the cerebrospinal fluid and onwards into the blood. It was previously known that the levels of NFL are elevated among people with neurodegenerative diseases, but there has been a lack of long-term studies.

Lead researcher Niklas Mattsson noted “Standard methods for indicating nerve cell damage involve measuring the patient’s level of certain substances using a lumbar puncture or examining a brain MRI. These methods are complicated, take time and are costly. Measuring the NFL in the blood can be cheaper and is also easier for the patient.” Mattsson continued “We discovered that the NFL concentration increases over time in Alzheimer’s disease and that these elevated levels also are in line with the accumulated brain damage.” More details can be read by following the link below to the source at Lund University, Sweden.

Lead Research/Investigator

Niklas Mattsson, Researcher at Lund University and Physician at Skane University

Source: Lund University

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