A study by researchers at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute suggests that plasma levels of tau, a protein formed in the brain, appears to be a biomarker and a strong predictor for Alzheimer's disease.
The study, led by Dr. Larry Speaks at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI), is published in the June edition of American Journal of Neurodegenerative Disease. Sparks and other researchers measured tau levels in human plasma and found "significant differences" between cognitively normal individuals and those with either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. Significantly, Sparks and his team found that the levels of tau were significantly lower in plasma measured in those with diagnosed Alzheimer's disease compared to those with no sign of cognitive decline.
"As cognitive performance declines so do the circulating levels of tau," Sparks noted in the study. "We revealed a significant decrease in plasma levels of tau among those with mild cognitive impairment with a further highly-significant reduction in Alzheimer's patients."