Research Findings New study shows lack of protein type could lead to brain decline

It was found that levels of one protein, MAPKAPK5 - involved in relaying chemical messages within the body, tended to be lower in those people whose brains declined.

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A chemical in blood has been found by scientists to indicate whether people will have declining brain function.

According to BBC, while looking for the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease, they analysed levels of 1,129 proteins circulating in the blood of more than 200 twins which were compared with data from cognitive-function tests over the next decade, in Translational Psychiatry.

It was found that levels of one protein, MAPKAPK5 - involved in relaying chemical messages within the body, tended to be lower in those people whose brains declined.

However, the twins in the study will have to be followed for many more years to see whether levels of the protein predict dementia.

According to Dr Eric Karran, from the charity Alzheimer's Research UK,

"This study associated blood levels of a protein called MAPKAPK5 with cognitive decline over a 10-year period, but it will be necessary to investigate more about a possible mechanism linking this protein to changes in memory and thinking. Current diagnosis of diseases like Alzheimer's is not an exact science, and we urgently need to improve approaches to deliver more timely and accurate diagnosis".

Dementia cases are expected to treble globally by 2050, but there is no cure or treatment.

It can take more than a decade from the first changes in the brain to culminate in symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and personality change, and drug companies believe they need to treat patients years before symptoms appear in order to protect the brain.

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