Lipids may provide the key to understanding Alzheimer’s disease

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New research suggests that lipids (fats in the blood) could be used as a biomarker to identify people at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

The research shows that how people metabolise lipids changes with age and that these changes are associated with a risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers performed a comprehensive analysis of lipids using advanced technology developed by Dementia Australia Research Foundation PhD Scholarship recipient Dr Kevin Huynh at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.  

Some 5,733 clinical samples from 1,912 individuals in two large independent studies (The Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle flagship study of ageing and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study in the US) were examined. 

The research, published in Nature Communications, was undertaken by Australian researchers from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, in collaboration with researchers from Edith Cowan University and the Alzheimer’s Disease Metabolomics Consortium in the US.  

The next stage of this work will be to test lipid biomarkers for improving risk assessment and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease in the general population. From here, appropriate interventions to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease that focus on maintaining a healthy metabolism in older age may be developed.