Using a blood marker to help diagnose dementia risk
Nearly 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, which affects their memory, language, and family relationships. Now, a blood marker called soluble CD14 is being studied as a potential tool in neurological disease.
Chronic inflammation in the body, caused by genetics, disease, or lifestyle is very damaging to cells, playing a role in vascular disease and dementia.
Sudha Seshadri, MD, professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio explained to Ivanhoe, “We are increasingly recognizing that infection and inflammation play a role in neurodegeneration and vascular diseases.”
As this disease develops, inflammation is activating white blood cells, including the blood marker, CD14.
“Soluble CD14 is something that comes into the blood. Its role is to bind with bad things like bacterial toxins or other body-generated toxins like amyloid and help remove them,” elaborated Dr. Seshadri.
Scientists say this discovery of how CD14 clears toxins could be invaluable.
“The higher markers of soluble CD14 predicted a higher risk of developing dementias of all types,” Dr. Seshadri shared.
Matthew Pase, PhD, a study author at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia explained, “There are multiple pathways that might lead to dementia and this is important as we move forward to develop these better drugs and better therapies that might help people avoid dementia into old age.”
In other words, it would give doctors the advantage in spotting dementia and treating it effectively either with medication or more effective activity-oriented intervention.
“I expect over the next five, six years, we’ll be able to provide more tools to people in primary care settings, to give targeted advice,” Dr. Seshadri stated.
The researchers studied dementia risk in nearly 4,000 participants from the Framingham Heart Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study. They say that a cost-effective blood-marker is greatly needed to track the progression of preclinical brain injury leading to dementia.
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