Assessing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

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Assessing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

World Alzheimer’s Month

World Alzheimer’s Month is a global campaign to raise awareness and highlight the challenge that surrounds the disease, hosted by the Alzheimer’s disease International (ADI) every September. During this month World Alzheimer’s Day also takes place, 21 September each year.

47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s worldwide, costing 604 billion USD per year. This number is expected to rise to 76 million people with the disease by 2030.1 The FDA have not approved a medication for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease since 2003. More than 400 clinical trials are currently looking at new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and many of them are actively recruiting. Many still regard the amyloid hypothesis as a key explanation for Alzheimers disease development and progression.2

Alzheimer’s risk

Alzheimer’s disease is not necessarily inherited as a single-gene mutation as the inheritance pattern is incredibly complex. Unlike familial Alzheimer’s disease, a multi-gene form usually affects those aged 65 and older. The gene with the greatest known effect on the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is called apolipoprotein E (APOE). It is found on chromosome 19 and the APOE protein plays a role in handling fats in the body, including cholesterol. 3

ApoE plays a key role in lipid metabolism and the scientific and medical community recognise it as one of the most powerful genetic risk factors for dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. It has become one of the most widely studied gene variants in Alzheimer’s disease and constitutes a major consideration for preventive medicine.

ApoE exists in three common isoforms (ApoE2, ApoE3 and ApoE4) which are coded by three co-dominant alleles (e2, e3, e4). As such, six common ApoE phenotypes exist within the general population: E2/E2, E3/E3, E4/E4 (homozygous) and E2/E3, E2/E4, E3/E4 (heterozygous). Medical professionals recognise the presence of the ApoE4 isoform as a major genetic risk factor for development of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the availability of analytical methods for rapid and reliable ApoE4 classification is advantageous.

Evidence Investigator

The Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) Array is a research use only product developed for the Evidence Investigator. The ApoE4 Array measures both total ApoE protein levels and ApoE4 protein levels directly from plasma samples and using a ratio can classify patients as negative or positive for ApoE4. In turn we can then assess their risk for the  development of Alzheimer’s disease.

2-plex Biochip Array

  • Pan ApoE
  • ApoE4

An individual’s ApoE status has been shown to affect pre-symptomatic risk, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment response for a variety of diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. The ApoE4 Array can rapidly and accurately detect an individual’s ApoE4 status directly from a plasma sample. In combination with medical and family history, medication and lifestyle, this can deliver valuable information for personalised medicine approaches.

The 2-plex diagnostic Alzheimer’s test has the utility to detect the likelihood of a person’s chance of developing the disease to assist in the research and development of a potential drug to combat or slow down the process of Alzheimer’s.

1 https://www.alz.org/global/overview.asp

2 https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/clinical-trials-alzheimers-disease-whats-new 

3 https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/alzheimers-disease-and-genes

 

For further information about the Randox Alzheimer’s Array, please email info@randoxbiosciences.com

 

 

 


Maintaining optimal brain health

Do you want to have optimal brain function later in life? We do. The majority of people focus on keeping their bodies in optimal condition but often forget about the most important organ, the brain. With more of us living until we’re much older, reduced brain function and Alzheimer’s are becoming increasingly more common; it is one of the most feared consequences of aging. We expect our bodies to age due to wear and tear; however there are easy ways to slow it, you will be glad to hear. Here are some top tips to keep your brain health at its peak.

  1. Get physical exercise

It is becoming an increasingly well-known fact by scientists that regular exercise may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure optimum brain health. The reason for this is that exercise increases the blood supply to your brain so therefore increases your brain capacity. Experts advise 30 minutes of exercise every other day to ensure good mental health. Exercise also helps with cholesterol levels, mental stress and diabetes.

  1. Eat, eat, eat

Good nutrition is also essential for good brain health. Your brain is no different to any other organ: the better the fuel it receives; the better it works, simple. As with everything it is important to keep your calories in check as it has been proven to reduce mental illness. We aim to reduce the consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol as these can decrease brain function. No matter who you are, vitamins are also very important to ensure not only a healthy brain, but a healthy body.  Vitamins of particular importance are folic acid, B6 and B12 which it is well-known can help lower your homocysteine levels. There is an ever-growing body of research which suggests that homocysteine levels have a strong correlation with Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you would like to read more about the link between homocysteine and Alzheimer’s, check out our previous blog post ‘How important is homocysteine research for Alzheimer’s disease?’

  1. Get enough sleep

Recent studies have suggested that a poor sleeping pattern is linked with cognitive decline in old age. A good night’s rest can actually double the chances of finding creative solutions to problems faced in everyday life! It has been proven that when we don’t sleep, proteins build up on the brain. These proteins build on the synapses, making it hard to think and learn new information; which is not conducive to good brain health.

  1. De-stress

Relaxation is key in a healthy lifestyle. Stress has a negative impact on the brain. It creates harmful chemicals to flow over areas of the brain that are in control of memory. Too much of these chemicals can lead to dementia and other memory loss related diseases, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea that you take that trip to the Bahamas you were thinking about!

  1. Improve you cholesterol

Cholesterol is commonly split up into good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). There are loads of ways to improve your cholesterol levels such as exercise, weight control, dieting and avoiding tobacco. It is very important to keep you levels of LDL down as high levels can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and cardiac problems in old age. At Randox we are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways of monitoring your cholesterol and the launch of our new HDL3 test is coming soon. For more information on HDL3, check it out here!

  1. Brain exercises

Challenging your mind from time to time is important for good brain health; it keeps your brain active and uses cognitive thought to try and learn or solve a problem. It is thought that a lack of education is a strong influence in cognitive decline. Challenging your brain improves memory, develops critical thinking and stimulates the whole brain ensuring brain health is kept to a maximum. It can often be done in fun ways like brain teasers, puzzles and jigsaws. Check out our recent brain teaser here!

 

These are only some of the ways in which to keep your brain in peak condition. Aging will take a toll on everyone and it is impossible to avoid; however these 6 techniques can help maintain optimal brain function!  We have been keeping up to date with Alzheimer’s in celebration of World Alzheimer’s Month. Remember a healthy brain is the key to success!

 


For health professionals

Randox Laboratories manufacture a wide range of routine and niche biochemistry reagents suitable for both research and clinical use.  These include an automated homocysteine test and our new HDL3 cholesterol assay.  Please contact reagents@randox.com for further information.


Randox Biochip Blood Test detects Alzheimer’s Disease risk in 3 hours

Randox are delighted to announce that at this week’s American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo, in Philadelphia, we have been presented with a NACB / AACC Distinguished Abstract Award for a new Randox Biochip Blood Test to identify Alzheimer’s Disease risk.

Or more specifically, an award for our “Development of a New Biochip Array for ApoE4 Classification from Plasma Samples using Immunoassay Based Methods!”

Out of 1024 posters presented at the diagnostics conference, which is the largest of its kind globally, the poster for our new ApoE4 test, presented by our R&D Scientist Dr. Emma Harte, was one of only 29 to receive this prestigious award.

Emma is one of a team of Randox scientists at our Teoranta site in Dungloe, Co. Donegal, Ireland who carried out this pioneering Alzheimer’s research.

The ApoE4 poster demonstrated the work involved in the development of our ApoE4 blood test, performed on our patented Randox Biochip Array Technology.  This blood test is an affordable method of identifying patients at risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, and provides a faster alternative to standard testing which analyses a patient’s DNA.  Standard molecular testing can be both time-consuming and expensive.

The Randox ApoE4 Biochip Array can conduct multiple diagnostic tests on a single blood sample, which has both cost and time-saving benefits, in addition to a rapid diagnosis for the patient.

The Randox Biochip analyses the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a gene which is recognised as one of the most significant genetic risk factors for dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

There are three versions of the ApoE gene: E2, E3 and E4. The E4 version increases a person’s risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and it may also be associated with an earlier onset of memory loss.

Each parent passes on one ApoE gene to their child.  Around 25% of the population inherit one copy of the ApoE4 gene. Inheriting two copies of the E4 variant increases a person’s disease risk by 10 times or more.

Our research into the identification of this gene was conducted in conjunction with our colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna, and verified the accuracy of the Randox Biochip Blood Test by analysing 384 samples and comparing the results to that of a standard molecular diagnostic test.  Both tests provided the same accurate results, however the Biochip test results were available in a significantly faster 3 hours.

In combination with information on medical and family history, medication, and lifestyle, an individual’s ApoE4 status, as obtained from the Randox Biochip test, can go a long way in advising personalised medicine for the patient.

“This type of testing is important in our quest to understand and diagnose Alzheimer’s and empower patients to understand risks, consider medication, and even make early lifestyle changes,” said Emma, our R&D Scientist.

“Pairing this test with medical and family history for risk of Alzheimer’s disease has the real potential to advance personalised medicine.  This fast, accurate testing will allow doctors and patients to make more informed choices earlier to potentially slow the possible progress of Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Emma Harte PhD, one of our Randox R&D Scientists! Emma presented our ApoE4 poster at this week’s AACC Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo, in Philadelphia.


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