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These Neuroscientists’ New Discovery is a Step Further to Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

The brain-derived tau" (BD-tau) biomarker helps in early Alzheimer's diagnosis

[legitscience] – Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have developed a novel test to find signs of Alzheimer’s disease neurodegeneration in a blood sample. The brain-derived tau” (BD-tau) biomarker helps in early Alzheimer’s diagnosis, according to a recent study published in the journal Brain.


The “brain-derived tau” (BD-tau) biomarker, which apparently surpasses presently utilized blood diagnostic tests, is unique to neurodegenerations linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

“Neuroimaging is currently necessary for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease,” according to the study’s principal author Thomas Karikari, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Pitt.

“Even in the United States, many patients lack access to MRI and PET scanners. As a result, it makes those tests expensive and difficult to schedule. A serious problem is accessibility.”

To diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, doctors currently use standards set in 2011. That is, the standard by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association.

The brain-derived tau” (BD-tau) biomarker helps in early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

However, according to these recommendations, known as the AT(N) Framework, three distinct aspects of Alzheimer’s pathology must be determined by imaging or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis: the presence of amyloid plaques, tau tangles, and neurodegeneration in the brain.

There is a need for straightforward and precise AT(N) biomarkers in blood samples. That is, one whose collection is less invasive and requires fewer resources. This is because current approaches have both financial and practical restrictions.

According to Karikari, creating straightforward methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is a critical first step toward greater accessibility.


Karikari stated that, “the most essential utility of blood biomarkers is to increase clinical confidence. Also, risk prediction in Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.”

More Clinical Trials Required

Monitoring BD-tau blood levels is anticipated to improve clinical trial planning. Also, it makes it possible to screen and enroll patients from groups that have been left out of research cohorts.

“Clinical research has a great need for diversity.  This is in terms of socioeconomic background as well as skin color,” according to Karikari.

“Trials must include participants from a variety of backgrounds, not only those who live near academic medical centers. This is in order to produce better medications. A blood test can increase clinical confidence in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Also, in the selection of individuals for clinical trials and disease monitoring. It is less expensive, safer, and simpler to administer.”

Future blood BD-tau clinical trials will be conducted on a larger scale and with a wider variety of subjects, including those of various racial and cultural origins.


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These trials will also include elderly people in various stages of the disease as well as those who do not exhibit any biological symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The results of the biomarker will be generalizable to people of all backgrounds thanks to these efforts, which will pave the way for BD-tau to be commercially available for wider clinical and prognostic usage.

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