A urine biomarker for early stage diagnosis?

Screening as early as possible would allow rapid treatment in order to relieve patients and support caregivers.

It’s in the magazine Frontiers in Aging Neurosciences which publishes the results of a study conducted by researchers from several Chinese universities.

According to them, it is possible via a simple urine test to detect the decline of the brain, and this well before the symptoms come to worsen.

Formic acid, an important biomarker?

This is to detect formic acid levels in urine. This compound was found to be more present in patients with Alzheimer’s, compared to healthy individuals, even in those with an early stage of the neurodegenerative disease.

And when scientists compared formic acid levels against blood biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, they were able to conclude that they were able to more accurately predict the stage of the disease.

“Large-scale screening necessary”

For researchers,

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, ongoing and hidden disease, which means that it can develop and last for many years before obvious cognitive impairment appears. The early stages of the disease occur before the stage of irreversible dementia, and this is the ideal window for intervention and treatment.

They recall that a “large-scale screening for Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage” is “necessary for older people”.

Effective and inexpensive

Of course, there is no cure for this disease. But curbing the decline, improving the symptoms and therefore the daily life of patients is essential.

The authors of this study believe that the effectiveness of a urine test used for screening is no longer to be proven, and its low cost is another asset. Now, other studies should shed light on the link between formic acid and Alzheimer’s disease.

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