Can a blood test predict cognitive decline?

January 01, 0001

Can a blood test predict cognitive decline?

Beta-amyloid has been associated with dementia. These US and French researchers examined whether plasma beta-amyloid is associated with cognitive decline and the impact of cognitive reserve. They studied almost 1000 community-dwelling older adults enrolled in the Health ABC Study, a prospective observational study begun. They examined baseline plasma beta-amyloid levels (42 and 42/40) and repeatedly measured Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MS) results.

The researchers found: "Low beta-amyloid 42/40 level was associated with greater 9-year 3MS cognitive decline (lowest beta-amyloid tertile: mean change in 3MS score, -6.59 points, middle tertile: -6.16 points, and highest tertile: -3.60 points). Results were similar after multivariate adjustment for age, race, education, diabetes, smoking, and apolipoprotein E [APOE

The researchers concluded: "Lower plasma beta-amyloid 42/40 is associated with greater cognitive decline among elderly persons without dementia over 9 years, and this association is stronger among those with low measures of cognitive reserve."

This study suggests that plasma levels of beta-amyloid 42/40 may help predict cognitive decline, and also reinforced the importance of cognitive reserve.

For the full abstract, click here.

JAMA 305(3):261-266, 19 January 2011
© 2011 American Medical Association
Association of Plasma â-Amyloid Level and Cognitive Reserve With Subsequent Cognitive Decline. Graff-Radford, Suzanne Satterfield, Eleanor M. Simonsick, et al.. Correspondence to::

Category: N. Neurological. Keywords: beta-amyloid 42/40, plasma beta-amyloid, dementia, cognitive decline, cognitive reserve, prospective cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 4 February 2011

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.