Higher levels of a certain type of fat in the blood may provide an early signs of a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, found a new study. The increased blood levels of serum ceramides, a fat compound in the body linked to inflammation and cell death were associated with the higher risk of developing the disease.
Alzheimer’s is the most frequent form of dementia which affects more millions of people all over the world. The condition occurred because parts of the brain wasting away particularly in the cerebral cortex. Earlier symptoms of the condition may include minor memory problem and cognitive decline and more severe symptoms include stern confusion and theatrical changes in personality.
At present there is no cure for the condition, though some treatments can slow progression of the disease. This disease may shorten life-expectancy of patients and they may lose interest in eating and maintain personality hygiene, which can lead to other illnesses. For their analysis researchers from John Hopkins University tested ninety-nine dementia free women aged seventy and above.
All study participants were tested for fatty compound in the blood. On the basis of that testing they were ranked into three groups depending on levels of ceramide and follow-up of more than nine years. Out of ninety-nine about twenty-seven developed dementia, of which eighteen were diagnosed with possibility of Alzheimer’s.
The researchers found that study participants who had the highest levels of ceramides were ten times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, compared to those with the lowest levels of ceramides. On the other hand participants with middle levels were eight times more at risk. Lead author Dr Michell Mielke, explained their study identifies this biomarker as a potential new target for treating or preventing Alzheimer’s disease.’
Higher levels of ceramides have also been associated with hippocampal volume loss, plus increases in beta-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain. Beta-amyloid and tau proteins are two other well-known biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline. More studies need to be done before a clinical test can be developed using ceramide levels as an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease added Dr Mielke.
The study findings were published in the journal Neurology.