The authors of this paper describe a lipidomic approach to detecting preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in a group of cognitively normal older adults. They discovered and validated a set of ten lipids from peripheral blood that predicted phenoconversion to either amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease within a 2-3 year time-frame with over 90% accuracy. They suggest that this biomarker panel, reflecting cell membrane integrity, may be sensitive to the early neurodegeneration of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. Other current biomarkers for early Alzheimer’s, including cerebrospinal fluid tau and amyloid-β levels, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging and the recent use of brain amyloid imaging, are limited because they are either invasive, time-consuming or expensive.


Mapstone M, Cheema AK, Fiandaca MS, Zhong X, Mhyre TR, Macarthus LH, Hall WJ, Fisher SG, Peterson DR, Haley JM, Nazar MD, Rich SA, Berlau DJ, Peltz CB, Tan MT, Kawas CH, Federoff HJ: Plasma phospholipids identify antecedent memory impairment in older adults. Nature Medicine [ Epub ahead of print, March 9, 2014; doi: 10.1038/nm.3466 ].

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